Paper 2021/1657

SoK: Blockchain Light Clients

Panagiotis Chatzigiannis, Foteini Baldimtsi, and Konstantinos Chalkias


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.

Available format(s)
Publication info
Published elsewhere. MINOR revision.Financial Cryptography and Data Security 2022
blockchainlight clientsconsensuslong range attacks
Contact author(s)
pchatzig @ gmu edu
foteini @ gmu edu
kostas @ mystenlabs com
2022-05-04: revised
2021-12-17: received
See all versions
Short URL
Creative Commons Attribution


      author = {Panagiotis Chatzigiannis and Foteini Baldimtsi and Konstantinos Chalkias},
      title = {SoK: Blockchain Light Clients},
      howpublished = {Cryptology ePrint Archive, Paper 2021/1657},
      year = {2021},
      note = {\url{}},
      url = {}
Note: In order to protect the privacy of readers, does not use cookies or embedded third party content.