New Dolev-Reischuk Lower Bounds Meet Blockchain Eclipse Attacks

Authors Ittai Abraham, Gilad Stern

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Ittai Abraham
  • VMWare Research, Herzliya, Israel
Gilad Stern
  • The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel

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Ittai Abraham and Gilad Stern. New Dolev-Reischuk Lower Bounds Meet Blockchain Eclipse Attacks. In 26th International Conference on Principles of Distributed Systems (OPODIS 2022). Leibniz International Proceedings in Informatics (LIPIcs), Volume 253, pp. 16:1-16:18, Schloss Dagstuhl – Leibniz-Zentrum für Informatik (2023)


In 1985, Dolev and Reischuk proved a fundamental communication lower bounds on protocols achieving fault tolerant synchronous broadcast and consensus: any deterministic protocol solving those tasks (even against omission faults) requires at least a quadratic number of messages to be sent by nonfaulty parties. In contrast, many blockchain systems achieve consensus with seemingly linear communication per instance against Byzantine faults. We explore this dissonance in three main ways. First, we extend the Dolev-Reischuk family of lower bounds and prove a new lower bound for Crusader Broadcast protocols. Our lower bound for crusader broadcast requires non-trivial extensions and a much stronger Byzantine adversary with the ability to simulate honest parties. Secondly, we extend our lower bounds to all-but-m Crusader Broadcast, in which up to m parties are allowed to output a different value. Finally, we discuss the ways in which these lower bounds relate to the security of blockchain systems. We show how Eclipse-style attacks in such systems can be viewed as specific instances of the attacks used in our lower bound for Crusader Broadcast. This connection suggests a more systematic way of analyzing and reasoning about Eclipse-style attacks through the lens of the Dolev-Reischuk family of attacks.

Subject Classification

ACM Subject Classification
  • Theory of computation → Distributed algorithms
  • consensus
  • crusader broadcast
  • Byzantine fault tolerance
  • blockchain
  • synchrony
  • lower bounds


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