[Resource Topic] 2021/1276: On the Security and Performance of Blockchain Sharding

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On the Security and Performance of Blockchain Sharding

Authors: Runchao Han, Jiangshan Yu, Haoyu Lin, Shiping Chen, Paulo Esteves-Veríssimo


In this paper, we perform a comprehensive evaluation on blockchain sharding protocols. We deconstruct the blockchain sharding protocol into four foundational layers with orthogonal functionalities, securing some properties. We evaluate each layer of seven state-of-the-art blockchain sharding protocols, and identify a considerable number of new attacks, questionable design trade-offs and some open challenges. The layered evaluation allows us to unveil security and performance problems arising from a fundamental design choice, namely the coherence of system settings across layers. In particular, most sharded blockchains use different trust and synchrony assumptions across layers, without corresponding architectural guarantees. Unless a hybrid architecture were used, assuming differentiated system settings across layers can introduce subtle but severe failure syndromes or reduce the system’s performance.

ePrint: https://eprint.iacr.org/2021/1276

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