What is Casper Network, CasperLabs and the CSPR Token?

Written by Ivan on Tech

June 14, 2021

CasperLabs is the organization behind the Casper Network, and is a decentralized smart contract development platform with the Casper CBC specification as a basis. The goal of the Casper Network is to solve some of the major issues that other blockchains are struggling with. Some of these issues are scalability, high gas prices, and usability. In this article, we will dive deeper into the Casper Network and discover how CasperLabs tackles some of the most significant blockchain issues. 

There are two main different consensus mechanisms when it comes to block validation. These two mechanisms are Proof-of-Work (PoW) and Proof-of-Stake (PoS). The two most prominent blockchains, Bitcoin and Ethereum, are currently utilizing a PoW consensus mechanism. However, PoW seems to have some problems when it comes to efficiency and scalability. For this reason, Ethereum is opting to change from PoW to PoS. 

Furthermore, PoS has shown a lot of potential in recent years due to the predictability of gas prices, ability to scale, etc. One of the blockchains utilizing this consensus mechanism is the Casper Network. However, the thing that makes Casper Network unique is the Highway consensus protocol. This protocol details the advanced PoS model of the network.

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What is CasperLabs?

Before getting into what the Casper Network is, we’ll take a closer look at the team behind the network. Understanding their motivation for creating the Casper Network and their vision for the future will give us insight into why they have decided to take the path they are on. 

The organization behind the development of the Casper Network is CasperLabs. The team at CasperLabs consists of everything from builders and developers to entrepreneurs and leaders. All the organization’s people are dedicated and believers of a world enabled by blockchain technology. Along with developing the Casper Network platform, the people at CasperLabs focus on providing service and support for the network’s users.

The Vision of CasperLabs

Blockchain technology is already pushing mainstream adoption. Moreover, CasperLabs believe that blockchain technology is ready for the next step, which is mainstream adoption. 

Their vision is to develop blockchain protocol and enable the network to be capable of mass adoption. To realize this vision, CasperLabs set out to develop a platform that is secure, efficient, and flexible, all while being able to adapt to a more extensive user-base.

At the heart of their vision lies the concept of decentralization. Decentralization is a common theme throughout the organization and is something that all the people of the company share and strive for. They believe that the current system has served us well when it comes to innovation and the development of the economy. However, they can also point out flaws with this system in that a large portion of power and wealth is accumulated to a few individuals. Therefore, they suggest that there is a better alternative in the form of a decentralized ecosystem. 

CasperLabs suggests that decentralization is the main way to create a transparent, open, and permissionless system that the people control. Not only are they focusing on developing a decentralized network, but they themselves are working with the concept throughout all parts of the organization. 

Their vision is very timely and in accordance with one of the hottest crypto trends: DeFi. DeFi stands for decentralized finance, and it is one of the areas within the crypto world that has experienced massive growth in the past years. This demonstrates the potential of decentralization and why it is worth paying attention to.  

What is the Casper Network?

With an understanding of CasperLabs’ vision and why they have decided to develop this network, we can dive deeper into the main topic of this article. 

To realize the vision of a decentralized and blockchain-enabled world, CasperLabs decided to develop the Casper Network. The Casper Network is a blockchain network based on the Casper CBC specification and launched earlier this year on March 31st. The network aims to increase the speed at which people adopt blockchain technology and prepare the industry for mass adoption. 

CasperLabs suggests that there has not been a layer-1 protocol on the market with the necessary capabilities to cater to a global market. In addition, previous blockchains lack the ability to support developers, enterprises, and customers for dApp development/use all at once. This means that other blockchains have had to make compromises, something that the Casper Network strives to change. Consequently, the Casper Network seeks to not make any compromises between stakeholders, suggesting that everyone involved can sustainably adopt the technology.

One of the people behind the Casper Network is CasperLabs CEO, Mrinal Manohar. He says that the organization has brought together experts from the blockchain, cloud, and enterprise industries to make the development of the network possible. He further suggests that these experts are the reason why CasperLabs have been able to develop the most advanced, secure, and reliable PoS smart contract platform out there. Manohar does not only say that the platform is trustworthy; he also suggests that the blockchain is ready for mass adoption. 

Mrinal Manohar, CEO of CasperLabs

Some of the main features of the network is that they have a focus on being developer/user-friendly, permissionless/flexible, and upgradable. 

Casper Network – a Developer-Friendly Platform

One of the main focuses of the Casper Network is to create a developer-friendly platform. One way in which they try to achieve this is to not use specific languages for smart contract development like, for example, smart contract development using Ethereum

Instead, the Casper Network supports WebAssembly, meaning that the tools that developers already have in their arsenals are usable. This means that development can be easier on the Casper Network since developers won’t need to learn a new skill prior to building on the platform. 

User-Friendly

As we mentioned previously, the Casper Network sets out to cater to the needs of everyone. This means that they have not forgotten about the users of the network. To make the network more user-friendly, the developers opted for a model that supports more stable gas prices. This allows developers and users alike to predict gas prices with greater accuracy, even with unusually high traffic.

Permissionless and Flexible

Furthermore, the network also strives to be both permissionless and flexible at the same time. This means that developers are able to choose to build either private or permissionless applications. In doing so, the builders of the ecosystem can build applications that have the confidentiality of a private network but still maintain the security of a public one. 

Upgradability with the Casper Network

The Casper Network is also upgradable. This means that it is possible to upgrade smart contracts directly on-chain. Developers within the network can therefore update smart contracts without having to deal with complicated technical and governance procedures.

What is Casper Network’s Highway Protocol?

Highway is the name of the PoS protocol that the Casper Network utilizes, and this protocol is based on the Casper CBC specification. However, what does this entitle? 

A significant number of blockchains are designed with something known as a Byzantine Fault Tolerant (BFT) consensus protocol. BFT generally describes how resilient a protocol is against an attacker that is controlling an unknown subset of the nodes. Therefore, the traditional BFT models assume that less than 33% of the nodes in the network are dishonest, making 67% of them honest. Since a majority or two-thirds of the network nodes are honest, the network can operate securely and keep a verifiable history of transactions. However, the Highway protocol makes some alterations to the common BFT protocols. 

The Highway consensus protocol operates with the basics of a standard BFT protocol but does not make the same assumptions regarding honest/dishonest nodes. This enables the Highway protocol to ensure a higher degree of finality on the network and another level of flexibility that is not reachable on regular BFT protocols. 

Higher Finality with the Casper Network

A classic BFT protocol assumes that two-thirds of the network nodes need to be honest to achieve finality. This makes finality in this model binary, meaning that the system either achieves finality or not. In contrast, the Highway protocol assumes that more than two-thirds of the network nodes are usually honest. They make this assumption because the economic incentives provided in PoS systems are too great to make assumptions that a third of the network is dishonest. So, if more than two-thirds of the network is actually behaving honestly, then the Highway protocol can ensure higher finality. 

The Casper Network’s Flexibility 

As the threshold for finality can vary in the Highway protocol, would this mean that the system’s nodes would have to agree on the threshold itself? This is not the case; each node can set a specific threshold when it comes to finality. 

This functionality relieves the network from another consensus mechanism and allows the nodes in the network to play different roles. This is possible since nodes that are dealing with less important transactions can opt for a lower threshold. Meanwhile, nodes dealing with more critical transactions can increase the threshold instead. However, the cost is the security of a transaction, but the reward is higher latency. So, this basically means that the nodes can prioritize between these two factors.

CSPR – Casper Network’s Token

The CSPR token is the native token of the Casper Network. This token acts similarly to other PoS network tokens. The tokens are used to reward the network’s validators for their work in making the network secure. Along with rewarding the validators that keep the network safe, the token also helps to pay for the computation of transactions through stable gas fees. Lastly, the CSPR token also acts as a medium of exchange between all the system users, such as paying for on-chain actions. 

According to CoinMarketCap, the current price of the CSPR token is set at $0.254. However, the token has seen a steady decline since its launch earlier this year. The token’s all-time high is $1.37, which shows that the price has fallen almost 80% since its peak. The current price is only a fraction away from the all-time low, which was $0.2364. 

The current market cap of the CSPR token is about $150,000,000. This ranks the currency as low as the 183 biggest cryptocurrency based on market cap, according to CoinMarketCap. Furthermore, the token has a circulation supply of almost 600 million coins, and the maximum supply is not available. 

Casper Network Summary

CasperLabs has created a decentralized platform for building smart contract applications. The reason for creating this platform is to address some of the most significant issues that blockchain technology is facing. The Casper Network is trying to be ready for mass adoption while focusing on being user/developer-friendly, permissionless, and upgradeable. 

The Casper Network is running on the Highway consensus protocol that is based on the Casper CBC specification. Highway, in turn, is based on classic BFT consensus models while bringing more flexibility and finality. This allows the network to achieve higher efficiency in that it is adaptable depending on the importance of a transaction.

The team behind the Casper Network is trying to revolutionize the world and create a system that the masses can adopt. They have a clear mindset and at the center of their vision is the concept of decentralization. Not only are they looking to decentralize the world, but the organization themselves strive for decentralization throughout the whole company.

Behind this blockchain and the platform that CasperLab has created is the CSPR token. This is the backbone of the blockchain and is the incentive that ensures that validators are doing their part. The token is also used to ensure that gas prices are stable and act as a medium of exchange.

If you are interested in cryptocurrencies, blockchain technology, and other crypto concepts, then tune in to the number one blockchain education platform Ivan on Tech Academy. The academy provides its users with a vast selection of blockchain courses suitable for both novice and more experienced developers.

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