Enhancing Bitcoin Security and Performance with Strong Consistency via Collective Signing

While showing great promise, Bitcoin requires users to wait tens of minutes for transactions to commit, and even then, offering only probabilistic guarantees. This paper introduces ByzCoin, a novel Byzantine consensus protocol that leverages scalable collective signing to commit Bitcoin transactions irreversibly within seconds. ByzCoin achieves Byzantine consensus while preserving Bitcoin's open membership by dynamically forming hash power-proportionate consensus groups that represent recently-successful block miners. ByzCoin employs communication trees to optimize transaction commitment and verification under normal operation while guaranteeing safety and liveness under Byzantine faults, up to a near-optimal tolerance of f faulty group members among 3f + 2 total. ByzCoin mitigates double spending and selfish mining attacks by producing collectively signed transaction blocks within one minute of transaction submission. Tree-structured communication further reduces this latency to less than 30 seconds. Due to these optimizations, ByzCoin achieves a throughput higher than PayPal currently handles, with a confirmation latency of 15-20 seconds.

Published in:
Proceedings Of The 25Th Usenix Security Symposium, 279-296
Presented at:
25th USENIX Security Symposium, Austin, TX, AUG 10-12, 2016
Berkeley, Usenix Assoc

 Record created 2016-07-28, last modified 2020-09-28

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