Game Theoretical Framework for Analyzing Blockchains Robustness

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

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Paolo Zappalà
  • Orange Labs, 92320 Chatillon, France
  • LIA, Avignon Université, 84029 Avignon, France
Marianna Belotti
  • BDTD 60, Caisse des Dépôts, 75013 Paris, France
  • Cedric, Cnam, 75003 Paris, France
Maria Potop-Butucaru
  • Lip6, CNRS UMR 7606, Sorbonne University, 75005 Paris, France
Stefano Secci
  • Cedric, Cnam, 75003 Paris, France

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Paolo Zappalà, Marianna Belotti, Maria Potop-Butucaru, and Stefano Secci. Game Theoretical Framework for Analyzing Blockchains Robustness. In 35th International Symposium on Distributed Computing (DISC 2021). Leibniz International Proceedings in Informatics (LIPIcs), Volume 209, pp. 42:1-42:18, Schloss Dagstuhl – Leibniz-Zentrum für Informatik (2021)


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 an original 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 various blockchain protocols: Bitcoin (the most popular permissionless blockchain), Tendermint (the first permissioned blockchain used by the practitioners), Lightning Network, a side-chain protocol and a cross-chain swap protocol. For each one of the studied protocols we identify upper and lower bounds with respect to their resilience and immunity (expressed as no worse payoff than the initial state) face to rational and Byzantine behaviors.

Subject Classification

ACM Subject Classification
  • Networks
  • Blockchain protocols
  • Distributed algorithms
  • Game-theoretical modeling
  • Fault tolerance
  • Failure robustness


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