Cryptology ePrint Archive: Report 2021/223

Escaping from Consensus: Instantly Redactable Blockchain Protocols in Permissionless Setting

Xinyu Li and Jing Xu and Lingyuan Yin and Yuan Lu and Qiang Tang and Zhenfeng Zhang

Abstract: Blockchain technologies have drawn a lot of attentions, and its immutability is paramount to applications requiring persistent records. However, tremendous real-world incidents have exposed the harm of strict immutability, such as the illicit data stored on Bitcoin and the loss of millions of dollars in vulnerable smart contracts. Moreover, “Right to be Forgotten” has been imposed in new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) of European Union, which is incompatible with blockchain’s immutability. Therefore, it is imperative to design efficient redactable blockchain in a controlled way.

In this paper, we present a generic design of redactable blockchain protocol in the permissionless setting, applied to both proof-of-stake and proof-of-work blockchain. Our protocol can (1) maintain the same adversary bound requirement as the underlying blockchain, (2) support various network environments, (3) offer public verifiability for any redaction, and (4) achieve instant redaction, even only within one slot in the best case, which is desirable for redacting harmful data. Furthermore, we define the first ideal functionality of redactable blockchain and conduct security analysis following the language of universal composition. Finally, we develop a proof-of-concept implementation showing that the overhead remains minimal for both online and re-spawning nodes, which demonstrates the high efficiency of our design.

Category / Keywords: applications / Blockchain; Proof-of-Stake; Proof-of-Work; Redactable Blockchain

Date: received 27 Feb 2021, last revised 23 Nov 2021

Contact author: xinyuli1920 at gmail com, xujing at iscas ac cn, lingyuan2018 at iscas ac cn, luyuan at iscas ac cn, qiang tang at sydney edu au, zhenfeng at iscas ac cn

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Version: 20211123:105903 (All versions of this report)

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