Cryptology ePrint Archive: Report 2021/1657

SoK: Blockchain Light Clients

Panagiotis Chatzigiannis and Foteini Baldimtsi and Konstantinos Chalkias

Abstract: Blockchain systems, as append-only ledgers, are typically associated with linearly growing participation costs. Therefore, for a blockchain client to interact with the system (query or submit a transaction), it can either pay these costs by downloading, storing and verifying the blockchain history, or forfeit blockchain security guarantees and place its trust on third party intermediary servers.

With this problem becoming apparent from early works in the blockchain space, the concept of a light client has been proposed, where a resource-constrained client such as a browser or mobile device can participate in the system by querying and/or submitting transactions without holding the full blockchain but while still inheriting the blockchain's security guarantees. A plethora of blockchain systems with different light client frameworks and implementations have been proposed, each with different functionalities, assumptions and efficiencies. In this work we provide a systematization of such light client designs. We unify the space by providing a set of definitions on their properties in terms of provided functionality, efficiency and security, and provide future research directions based on our findings.

Category / Keywords: applications / blockchain, light clients, consensus, long range attacks

Original Publication (in the same form): Financial Cryptography and Data Security 2022

Date: received 17 Dec 2021

Contact author: pchatzig at gmu edu, foteini at gmu edu, kostascrypto at fb com

Available format(s): PDF | BibTeX Citation

Version: 20211217:143348 (All versions of this report)

Short URL: ia.cr/2021/1657


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