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TimeFabric: Trusted Time for Permissioned Blockchains

Authors Aritra Mitra, Christian Gorenflo, Lukasz Golab, S. Keshav

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Aritra Mitra
  • University of Waterloo, Canada
Christian Gorenflo
  • University of Waterloo, Canada
Lukasz Golab
  • University of Waterloo, Canada
S. Keshav
  • University of Cambridge, UK

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Aritra Mitra, Christian Gorenflo, Lukasz Golab, and S. Keshav. TimeFabric: Trusted Time for Permissioned Blockchains. In 4th International Symposium on Foundations and Applications of Blockchain 2021 (FAB 2021). Open Access Series in Informatics (OASIcs), Volume 92, pp. 4:1-4:15, Schloss Dagstuhl - Leibniz-Zentrum für Informatik (2021)


As the popularity of blockchains continues to rise, blockchain platforms must be enhanced to support new application needs. In this paper, we propose one such enhancement that is essential for financial applications and online marketplaces - support for time-based logic such as verifying deadlines or expiry dates and examining a time window of recent account activity. We present a lightweight solution to reach consensus on the current time without relying on external time oracles. Our solution assigns timestamps to blocks at transaction validation time and maintains a cache reflecting the effects of recent transactions. We implement a proof-of-concept prototype, called TimeFabric, in Hyperledger Fabric, a popular permissioned blockchain platform, and experimentally demonstrate high throughput and minimal overhead (approximately 3%) of maintaining trusted time. We also demonstrate a 2x performance improvement due to the cache, compared to reconstructing account histories from the ledger.

Subject Classification

ACM Subject Classification
  • Computer systems organization → Dependable and fault-tolerant systems and networks
  • Permissioned Blockchain
  • Timestamp
  • Clock
  • Sliding Window
  • Hyerpleger Fabric


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