SoK: A consensus taxonomy in the blockchain era

Juan Garay*, Aggelos Kiayias

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


Consensus is arguably one of the most fundamental problems in distributed computing, playing also an important role in the area of cryptographic protocols as the enabler of a secure broadcast functionality. While the problem has a long and rich history and has been analyzed from many different perspectives, recently, with the advent of blockchain protocols like Bitcoin, it has experienced renewed interest from a much wider community of researchers and has seen its application expand to various novel settings. One of the main issues in consensus research is the many different variants of the problem that exist as well as the various ways the problem behaves when different setup, computational assumptions and network models are considered. In this work we perform a systematization of knowledge in the landscape of consensus research in the Byzantine failure model starting with the original formulation in the early 1980s up to the present blockchain-based new class of consensus protocols. Our work is a roadmap for studying the consensus problem under its many guises, classifying the way it operates in the various settings and highlighting the exciting new applications that have emerged in the blockchain era.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationTopics in Cryptology – CT-RSA 2020
EditorsStanislaw Jarecki
Place of PublicationCham
Number of pages35
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-030-40186-3
ISBN (Print)978-3-030-40185-6
Publication statusPublished - 14 Feb 2020
EventThe Cryptographer's Track at the RSA Conference 2020 - San Francisco, United States
Duration: 24 Feb 202028 Feb 2020

Publication series

NameLecture Notes in Computer Science (including subseries Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence and Lecture Notes in Bioinformatics)
PublisherSpringer, Cham
ISSN (Print)0302-9743
ISSN (Electronic)1611-3349


ConferenceThe Cryptographer's Track at the RSA Conference 2020
Abbreviated titleCT-RSA 2020
CountryUnited States
CitySan Francisco
Internet address


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