Is Proof of History a useful idea?

Hey Tezos folks,

Apologies if this is off-topic, but I have a question that can only be answered by people who design consensus algorithms, and this is the only forum I’m a part of with such people.

In short, the question is: Is there anything to the Proof of History concept pushed by the Solana blockchain?

Projects with lots of smart people, such as Ethereum, Tezos, and Algorand, all have multi-year roadmaps for improving their consensus latency and throughput.

Meanwhile, Solana has millisecond block times and super high throughput.
If you read the Solana whitepaper and the docs, they claim the trick is “Proof of History” (PoH), which is some construction using verifiable delay functions.
Unfortunately, the whitepaper and the docs offer no clear explanation of how PoH enables Solana to scale - they are extremely hand-wavy.

I strongly suspect Solana’s approach is mostly BS and they’ve sacrificed something important along the way, else other projects with lots of smart people would have borrowed PoH.
But, I haven’t been able to find a well-reasoned critique of Solana’s approach and I haven’t been able to piece enough of it together myself to form such a critique.

So, is there anything to Proof of History, maybe that Tezos should borrow, or is it mostly BS?



Wonderful question. I’d love to contribute but don’t have the knowledge to add to this. Hopefully someone else with more knowledge will be able to contribute.


I think only the best people in the space could answer your question,:The Nomadic Labs team or Arthur himself.

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Not an expert but from what I’ve read, Solana’s TPS is mostly due to very high requirements for hardware in order to run one of their nodes. This in turn sacrifices the degree of decentralization which is the very core of what crypto stands for. See Community Conversations: Behind the Scenes with Vincent Botbol, Research and Development Architect at Nomadic Labs | Revue

I think they use sharding too which is not great for ACID transactions. In other words fake speed.

What makes you say that? It would be ironic, given their podcast literally used to be entitled “No Sharding”.

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Good catch, I must have gotten confused and/or saw the wrong info somewhere. Solana doesn’t have sub-second finality within a single block, and so I may have thought that sharding was the reason to blame for this. If they could achieve sub-second instant finality then I would say they may have an edge over other coins.