Consensus Explained

Unity Network

Unity Network

10 minutes

Consensus Explained


What it is

Have you ever played a game with others? If so, then consensus will make perfect sense to you. 

When people play a game, there are rules that must be followed to make sure the game is played correctly.

People usually follow rules because they agree to do so. So, consensus is the agreement to follow rules. 

However, consensus is difficult to achieve sometimes. Maybe people don’t agree with all the rules in a game, or perhaps one person decides to secretly cheat in order to win.

Financial transactions are like games that involve consensus; this can  make things complicated.

Let’s say that two friends, A and B agree to keep track of how much money they owe each other for one month. When one borrows money, they both make an entry on a shared document.  

Now the problem is that someone could cheat!  What if A decides to make an entry that B borrowed money when B actually didn’t? If this came to a dispute, how could someone from the outside know who was telling the truth?

This is where consensus mechanisms are useful. 

How it Works

A consensus mechanism is a group of rules that are automatically carried out on someone else’s behalf. 

Digital assets like cryptocurrency are famous for using consensus mechanisms to make sure that people can trade safely. These mechanisms are run by computer code. This allows people to safely make transactions with one another without requiring honesty from the other party!

Consensus mechanisms provide a solution for the problem between our two friends. 

If A falsely says that B owes them $20, the consensus mechanism uses math and other computerized methods to analyze their previous transactions. The consensus mechanism will show randomly chosen network managers called miners or stakers that the transaction is false, making it easy to reject A’s entry. 

There are many consensus mechanisms, but two are currently the most popular. Crypto-lingo calls them Proof-of-Work (PoW) and Proof-of-Stake (PoS). These versions have been very successful at ensuring honest transactions.

For now, there are only two things that you need to know:

  1. Consensus mechanisms are automatically governed rules.
  2. Consensus mechanisms are trustless.

How You Can Benefit

Security and access are at the heart of consensus. 

By using a cryptocurrency like Bitcoin or Ethereum, you are allowing automatic rules to manage your money. Consensus mechanisms allow people to trade without trust. 

Additionally, consensus mechanisms provide one public ledger of transactions that all people can access. Doing taxes, tracking personal records, and holding each other accountable becomes more efficient than ever.


Consensus is the agreement to follow rules. 

Consensus can also be difficult to achieve. This is why digital assets like cryptocurrency use consensus mechanisms to automatically and honestly evaluate in and outgoing money. 
Therefore, everyone spends and saves by the same rules, making transactions secure and accessible for all.

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