Cryptology ePrint Archive: Report 2020/386

Accountability in a Permissioned Blockchain: Formal Analysis of Hyperledger Fabric

Ralf Kuesters and Daniel Rausch and Mike Simon

Abstract: 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.

Category / Keywords: cryptographic protocols / accountability, blockchains, distributed ledgers, distributed systems, Hyperledger Fabric

Original Publication (with major differences): EuroS&P 2020

Date: received 3 Apr 2020

Contact author: ralf kuesters at sec uni-stuttgart de

Available format(s): PDF | BibTeX Citation

Version: 20200409:124155 (All versions of this report)

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