Atomic Appends: Selling Cars and Coordinating Armies with Multiple Distributed Ledgers

Authors Antonio Fernández Anta, Chryssis Georgiou, Nicolas Nicolaou

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Author Details

Antonio Fernández Anta
  • IMDEA Networks Institute, Madrid, Spain
Chryssis Georgiou
  • Dept. of Computer Science, University of Cyprus, Nicosia, Cyprus
Nicolas Nicolaou
  • Algolysis Ltd, Cyprus


We would like to thank Kishori Konwar, Michel Raynal, and Gregory Chockler for insightful discussions.

Cite AsGet BibTex

Antonio Fernández Anta, Chryssis Georgiou, and Nicolas Nicolaou. Atomic Appends: Selling Cars and Coordinating Armies with Multiple Distributed Ledgers. In International Conference on Blockchain Economics, Security and Protocols (Tokenomics 2019). Open Access Series in Informatics (OASIcs), Volume 71, pp. 5:1-5:16, Schloss Dagstuhl – Leibniz-Zentrum für Informatik (2020)


The various applications using Distributed Ledger Technologies (DLT) or blockchains, have led to the introduction of a new "marketplace" where multiple types of digital assets may be exchanged. As each blockchain is designed to support specific types of assets and transactions, and no blockchain will prevail, the need to perform interblockchain transactions is already pressing. In this work we examine the fundamental problem of interoperable and interconnected blockchains. In particular, we begin by introducing the Multi-Distributed Ledger Objects (MDLO), which is the result of aggregating multiple Distributed Ledger Objects - DLO (a DLO is a formalization of the blockchain) and that supports append and get operations of records (e.g., transactions) in them from multiple clients concurrently. Next we define the AtomicAppends problem, which emerges when the exchange of digital assets between multiple clients may involve appending records in more than one DLO. Specifically, AtomicAppend requires that either all records will be appended on the involved DLOs or none. We examine the solvability of this problem assuming rational and risk-averse clients that may fail by crashing, and under different client utility and append models, timing models, and client failure scenarios. We show that for some cases the existence of an intermediary is necessary for the problem solution. We propose the implementation of such intermediary over a specialized blockchain, we term Smart DLO (SDLO), and we show how this can be used to solve the AtomicAppends problem even in an asynchronous, client competitive environment, where all the clients may crash.

Subject Classification

ACM Subject Classification
  • Theory of computation → Distributed algorithms
  • DLO
  • Interoperability
  • Atomic Appends
  • Rational Clients
  • Fault-tolerance


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