Bryce "Zooko" Wilcox, a cypherpunk known for creating cryptocurrency Zcash, told Forbes that he wanted the privacy-oriented coin to move away from the proof of work (PoW) consensus mechanism.
Wilcox believes that Zcash has to undergo an Ethereum-like transition to proof of stake (PoS).
Proof of work (PoW), which underpins Bitcoin, offers miners rewards for solving complex mathematical problems and producing new coins. This consensus mechanism often attracts criticism for requiring a huge amount of energy in order to keep the network operational.
On the other hand, proof of stake (PoS) does not involve mining at all. Instead, network participants are rewarded for holding (or staking) cryptocurrencies.
Apart from being environmentally friendly, proof of stake (PoS) also offers superior security, according to Wilcox:
I think proof-of-work has some security flaws, as has been demonstrated by the 51% attacks that have occurred (when a miner controls a majority of computing power on the network and can steal tokens). And I think proof-of-stake can provide a much more powerful kind of security and at lower cost.
Such claims are, however, widely disputed within the Bitcoin community, whose members are adamant that proof-of-stake blockchains cannot hold a candle to the king's level of security. Moreover, the algorithm constantly faces criticism for enabling power centralization by creating a natural plutocracy.
Wilcox—who has a history of communication with pseudonymous Bitcoin creator Satoshi Nakamoto—pointed to the example of successful proof of stake (PoS) projects such as Cardano and Tezos.
Will Bitcoin follow suit?
Niklas Nikolajsen, founder of Switzerland-based crypto broker Bitcoin Suisse, and Chris Larsen, co-founder of Ripple, are among some crypto luminaries who urged the Bitcoin community to switch to proof of stake (PoS). As reported by U.Today, Larson posited that such a switch would be necessary for Bitcoin to retain its dominance on the cryptocurrency market.
Realistically, Bitcoin does not have a snowball's chance in hell of transitioning to proof of stake (PoS) because of how conservative the protocol is.
Moreover, as mentioned above, key personalities within the community have been very critical of proof of stake (PoS). Blockstream CEO and prominent Satoshi Nakamoto candidate Adam Back said that the consensus mechanism had some "fundamental problems."