Cryptology ePrint Archive: Report 2021/1276

On the Security and Performance of Blockchain Sharding

Runchao Han and Jiangshan Yu and Haoyu Lin and Shiping Chen and Paulo Esteves-Veríssimo

Abstract: 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.

Category / Keywords: cryptographic protocols / blockchain, sharding

Date: received 22 Sep 2021

Contact author: runchao han at monash edu, jiangshan yu at monash edu, chris haoyul at gmail com, shiping chen at data61 csiro au, paulo verissimo at kaust edu sa

Available format(s): PDF | BibTeX Citation

Version: 20210924:174957 (All versions of this report)

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