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On finality in blockchains

Abstract : This paper focuses on blockchain finality, which refers to the time when it becomes impossible to remove a block that has previously been appended to the blockchain. Blockchain finality can be deterministic or probabilistic, immediate or eventual. To favor availability against consistency in the face of partitions, most blockchains only offer probabilistic eventual finality: blocks may be revoked after being appended to the blockchain, yet with decreasing probability as they sink deeper into the chain. Other blockchains favor consistency by leveraging the immediate finality of Consensus - a block appended is never revoked - at the cost of additional synchronization. In this paper, we focus on necessary and sufficient conditions to implement a blockchain with deterministic eventual finality, which ensures that selected main chains at different processes share a common increasing prefix. This is a much weaker form of finality that allows us to provide a solution in an asynchronous system subject to unlimited number of Byzantine failures. We also show that the classical selection mechanism, such as in Bitcoin, that appends blocks at the longest chain is not compliant with a solution to eventual finality. We then study stronger forms of eventual finality strengthened with bounded revocation. By founded revocation we mean that the number of blocks that can be revoked from the current blockchain is bounded. This problem reduces to consensus or eventual consensus depending on whether the bound is known or not. We finally provide the first solution for unknown bounded revocation eventual finality with Byzantine processes.
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Preprints, Working Papers, ...
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Contributor : Emmanuelle Anceaume <>
Submitted on : Monday, May 17, 2021 - 11:13:12 AM
Last modification on : Wednesday, May 19, 2021 - 3:35:15 AM


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Distributed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License


  • HAL Id : cea-03080029, version 3
  • ARXIV : 2012.10172


Emmanuelle Anceaume, Antonella Pozzo, Thibault Rieutord, Sara Tucci-Piergiovanni. On finality in blockchains. 2021. ⟨cea-03080029v3⟩



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