The Longest-Chain Protocol Under Random Delays

02/01/2021 ∙ by Suryanarayana Sankagiri, et al. ∙ 0

In the field of distributed consensus and blockchains, the synchronous communication model assumes that all messages between honest parties are delayed at most by a known constant Δ. Recent literature establishes that the longest-chain blockchain protocol is secure under the synchronous model. However, for a fixed mining rate, the security guarantees degrade with Δ. We analyze the performance of the longest-chain protocol under the assumption that the communication delays are random, independent, and identically distributed. This communication model allows for distributions with unbounded support and is a strict generalization of the synchronous model. We provide safety and liveness guarantees with simple, explicit bounds on the failure probabilities. These bounds hold for infinite-horizon executions and decay exponentially with the security parameter. In particular, we show that the longest-chain protocol has good security guarantees when delays are sporadically large and possibly unbounded, which is reflective of real-world network conditions.

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