Correctness of Tendermint-Core Blockchains

Authors Yackolley Amoussou-Guenou, Antonella Del Pozzo, Maria Potop-Butucaru, Sara Tucci-Piergiovanni

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Yackolley Amoussou-Guenou
  • Institut LIST, CEA, Université Paris-Saclay, F-91120, Palaiseau, France , Sorbonne Université, CNRS, Laboratoire d'Informatique de Paris 6, F-75005 Paris, France
Antonella Del Pozzo
  • Institut LIST, CEA, Université Paris-Saclay, F-91120, Palaiseau, France
Maria Potop-Butucaru
  • Sorbonne Université, CNRS, Laboratoire d'Informatique de Paris 6, F-75005 Paris, France
Sara Tucci-Piergiovanni
  • Institut LIST, CEA, Université Paris-Saclay, F-91120, Palaiseau, France

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Yackolley Amoussou-Guenou, Antonella Del Pozzo, Maria Potop-Butucaru, and Sara Tucci-Piergiovanni. Correctness of Tendermint-Core Blockchains. In 22nd International Conference on Principles of Distributed Systems (OPODIS 2018). Leibniz International Proceedings in Informatics (LIPIcs), Volume 125, pp. 16:1-16:16, Schloss Dagstuhl – Leibniz-Zentrum für Informatik (2019)


Tendermint-core blockchains (e.g. Cosmos) are considered today one of the most viable alternatives for the highly energy consuming proof-of-work blockchains such as Bitcoin and Ethereum. Their particularity is that they aim at offering strong consistency (no forks) in an open system combining two ingredients (i) a set of validators that generate blocks via a variant of Practical Byzantine Fault Tolerant (PBFT) consensus protocol and (ii) a selection strategy that dynamically selects nodes to be validators for the next block via a proof-of-stake mechanism. The exact assumptions on the system model under which Tendermint underlying algorithms are correct and the exact properties Tendermint verifies, however, have never been formally analyzed. The contribution of this paper is as follows. First, while formalizing Tendermint algorithms we precisely characterize the system model and the exact problem solved by Tendermint, then, we prove that in eventual synchronous systems a modified version of Tendermint solves (i) under additional assumptions, a variant of one-shot consensus for the validation of one single block and (ii) a variant of the repeated consensus problem for multiple blocks. These results hold even if the set of validators is hit by Byzantine failures, provided that for each one-shot consensus instance less than one third of the validators is Byzantine.

Subject Classification

ACM Subject Classification
  • Computer systems organization → Dependable and fault-tolerant systems and networks
  • Blockchain
  • Consensus
  • Proof-of-Stake
  • Fairness


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