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Committee Selection is More Similar Than You Think: Evidence from Avalanche and Stellar

by   Tarun Chitra, et al.
Princeton University

Increased interest in scalable and high-throughput blockchains has led to an explosion in the number of committee selection methods in the literature. Committee selection mechanisms allow consensus protocols to safely select a committee, or a small subset of validators that is permitted to vote and verify a block of transactions, in a distributed ledger. There are many such mechanisms, each with substantially different methodologies and guarantees on communication complexity, resource usage, and fairness. In this paper, we illustrate that, despite these implementation-level differences, there are strong statistical similarities between committee selection mechanisms. We concretely show this by proving that the committee selection of the Avalanche consensus protocol can be used to choose committees in the Stellar Consensus Protocol that satisfy the necessary and sufficient conditions for Byzantine agreement. We also verify these claims using simulations and numerically observe sharp phase transitions as a function of protocol parameters. Our results suggest the existence of a "statistical taxonomy" of committee selection mechanisms in distributed consensus algorithms.


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