Paper 2020/386

Accountability in a Permissioned Blockchain: Formal Analysis of Hyperledger Fabric

Ralf Kuesters, Daniel Rausch, and Mike Simon


While accountability is a well-known concept in distributed systems and cryptography, in the literature on blockchains (and, more generally, distributed ledgers) the formal treatment of accountability has been a blind spot: there does not exist a formalization let alone a formal proof of accountability for any blockchain yet. Therefore, in this work we put forward and propose a formal treatment of accountability in this domain. Our goal is to formally state and prove that if in a run of a blockchain a central security property, such as consistency, is not satisfied, then misbehaving parties can be identified and held accountable. Accountability is particularly useful for permissioned blockchains where all parties know each other, and hence, accountability incentivizes all parties to behave honestly. We exemplify our approach for one of the most prominent permissioned blockchains: Hyperledger Fabric in its most common instantiation.

Available format(s)
Cryptographic protocols
Publication info
Published elsewhere. MAJOR revision.EuroS&P 2020
accountabilityblockchainsdistributed ledgersdistributed systemsHyperledger Fabric
Contact author(s)
ralf kuesters @ sec uni-stuttgart de
2020-04-09: received
Short URL
Creative Commons Attribution


      author = {Ralf Kuesters and Daniel Rausch and Mike Simon},
      title = {Accountability in a Permissioned Blockchain: Formal Analysis of Hyperledger Fabric},
      howpublished = {Cryptology ePrint Archive, Paper 2020/386},
      year = {2020},
      note = {\url{}},
      url = {}
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