Cryptology ePrint Archive: Report 2016/199

The Honey Badger of BFT Protocols

Andrew Miller and Yu Xia and Kyle Croman and Elaine Shi and Dawn Song

Abstract: The surprising success of cryptocurrencies has led to a surge of interest in deploying large scale, highly robust, Byzantine fault tolerant (BFT) proto- cols for mission-critical applications, such as finan- cial transactions. Although the conventional wisdom is to build atop a (weakly) synchronous protocol such as PBFT (or a variation thereof), such protocols rely critically on network timing assumptions, and only guarantee liveness when the network behaves as ex- pected. We argue these protocols are ill-suited for this deployment scenario.

We present an alternative, HoneyBadgerBFT, the first practical asynchronous BFT protocol, which guarantees liveness without making any timing as- sumptions. We base our solution on a novel atomic broadcast protocol that achieves optimal asymptotic efficiency. We present an implementation and ex- perimental results to show our system can achieve throughput of tens of thousands of transactions per second, and scales to over a hundred nodes on a wide area network. We even conduct BFT experi- ments over Tor, without needing to tune any parame- ters. Unlike the alternatives, HoneyBadgerBFT sim- ply does not care about the underlying network.

Category / Keywords: cryptographic protocols / broadcast, distributed cryptography

Date: received 24 Feb 2016, last revised 24 Oct 2016

Contact author: amiller at cs umd edu

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Version: 20161024:215945 (All versions of this report)

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