Brief Announcement: Game Theoretical Framework for Analyzing Blockchains Robustness

Authors Paolo Zappalà, Marianna Belotti, Maria Potop-Butucaru, Stefano Secci

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Author Details

Paolo Zappalà
  • Cedric, Cnam, 75003 Paris, France
Marianna Belotti
  • BDTD, Caisse des Dépôts et Consignations, 75013 Paris, France
  • Cedric, Cnam, 75003 Paris, France
Maria Potop-Butucaru
  • Lip6, Sorbonne Université, 75005 Paris, France
Stefano Secci
  • Cedric, Cnam, 75003 Paris, France

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Paolo Zappalà, Marianna Belotti, Maria Potop-Butucaru, and Stefano Secci. Brief Announcement: Game Theoretical Framework for Analyzing Blockchains Robustness. In 34th International Symposium on Distributed Computing (DISC 2020). Leibniz International Proceedings in Informatics (LIPIcs), Volume 179, pp. 49:1-49:3, Schloss Dagstuhl – Leibniz-Zentrum für Informatik (2020)


Blockchains systems evolve in complex environments that mix classical patterns of faults (e.g crash faults, transient faults, Byzantine faults, churn) with selfish, rational or irrational behaviors typical to economical systems. In this paper we propose a game theoretical framework in order to formally characterize the robustness of blockchains systems in terms of resilience to rational deviations and immunity to Byzantine behaviors. Our framework includes necessary and sufficient conditions for checking the immunity and resilience of games and a new technique for composing games that preserves the robustness of individual games. We prove the practical interest of our formal framework by characterizing the robustness of three different protocols popular in blockchain systems: a HTLC-based payment scheme (a.k.a. Lightning Network), a side-chain protocol and a cross-chain swap protocol.

Subject Classification

ACM Subject Classification
  • Networks
  • Blockchains
  • Game Theory
  • Byzantine-Altruistic-Rational behaviours


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