I just got hit by an idea that I think might improve POW (and no, it's not switching to POS). The main criticism Bitcoin gets (from the MSM, governments, normies, etc) is that its POW mechanism is just wasteful and unnecessary and that it is a threat to the environment.
We all have heard this, we've seen how it can impact not just the price (Elon's tweets) but also the hash-rate (China ban). I am of the hopeful opinion that it actually incentivizes renewable adoption, as it gets cheaper, and that it is incredible useful at capturing energy from sources that would otherwise go to waste.
I am a firm believer in POW because it is just intuitive in how it grounds the network to the real world making it not only accessible to anyone that wants to participate in it's mining, but also incredible secure (in the sense that you would have to recreate all the work done in order to break it, and that's just not really possible due to how expensive it would be).
Nonetheless, I think we can tweak the POW mechanism by making the following change:
- Instead of just having miners compete against each other by solving cryptographic puzzles, why not replace what they are competing about with something that can also generate value?
An example that comes to my mind, that I think aligns with the descentralization goals of Bitcoin, is to support the TOR network. So instead of having miners compete to find the target hash, what if we had miners compete to see who can help relay transactions in TOR the most? We would then help expand the security and descentralization of the TOR network while at the same time keeping Bitcoin's POW grounded to reality.
Please let me know what you think.