Paper 2021/1276

On the Security and Performance of Blockchain Sharding

Runchao Han, Jiangshan Yu, Haoyu Lin, Shiping Chen, and 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.

Available format(s)
Cryptographic protocols
Publication info
Preprint. MINOR revision.
Contact author(s)
runchao han @ monash edu
jiangshan yu @ monash edu
chris haoyul @ gmail com
shiping chen @ data61 csiro au
paulo verissimo @ kaust edu sa
2021-09-24: received
Short URL
Creative Commons Attribution


      author = {Runchao Han and Jiangshan Yu and Haoyu Lin and Shiping Chen and Paulo Esteves-Veríssimo},
      title = {On the Security and Performance of Blockchain Sharding},
      howpublished = {Cryptology ePrint Archive, Paper 2021/1276},
      year = {2021},
      note = {\url{}},
      url = {}
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