Defending Against Malicious Reorgs in Tezos Proof-of-Stake

09/11/2020 ∙ by Michael Neuder, et al. ∙ 0

Blockchains are intended to be immutable, so an attacker who is able to delete transactions through a chain reorganization (a malicious reorg) can perform a profitable double-spend attack. We study the rate at which an attacker can execute reorgs in the Tezos Proof-of-Stake protocol. As an example, an attacker with 40 20-block malicious reorg at an average rate of once per day, and the attack probability increases super-linearly as the staking power grows beyond 40 Moreover, an attacker of the Tezos protocol knows in advance when an attack opportunity will arise, and can use this knowledge to arrange transactions to double-spend. We show that in particular cases, the Tezos protocol can be adjusted to protect against deep reorgs. For instance, we demonstrate protocol parameters that reduce the rate of length-20 reorg opportunities for a 40 attacker by two orders of magnitude. We also observe a trade-off between optimizing for robustness to deep reorgs (costly deviations that may be net profitable because they enable double-spends) and robustness to selfish mining (mining deviations that result in typically short reorgs that are profitable even without double-spends). That is, the parameters that optimally protect against one make the other attack easy. Finally, we develop a method that monitors the Tezos blockchain health with respect to malicious reorgs using only publicly available information.

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