Publish or Perish: Defending Withholding Attack in Dfinity Consensus


Chen Feng, Hanzheng Lyu, Jianyu Niu, Fangyu Gai

Date of Publication


Synchronous Byzantine consensus has regained its popularity with the rise of permissioned blockchains due to its significantly better fault tolerance (up to minority faults) than its partially synchronous counterpart (less than one third). Dfinity Consensus is a state-of-the-art synchronous Byzantine consensus protocol. However, Dfinity is vulnerable to the withholding attack. For example, adversaries can strategically withhold blocks, resulting in an increase in latency and unbounded message complexity. Motivated by this observation, we present Dfinity++, which can effectively defend such an attack. The key idea behind Dfinity++ is simple. Since honest replicas would timely publish their blocks, one can detect delayed blocks and then trigger a fast switch to the next iteration, leading to better resource usage. Our results show that against a static/mildly adversary, Dfinity++ is able to reduce the latency (of committing a new block) by 10.7%, and at the same time enjoys a message complexity of O(n2).

External Link

Read the Research Paper

  • Conference Paper

First Nations land acknowledegement

We acknowledge that the UBC Point Grey campus is situated on the traditional, ancestral, and unceded territory of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm.

UBC Crest The official logo of the University of British Columbia. Urgent Message An exclamation mark in a speech bubble. Caret An arrowhead indicating direction. Arrow An arrow indicating direction. Arrow in Circle An arrow indicating direction. Arrow in Circle An arrow indicating direction. Chats Two speech clouds. Facebook The logo for the Facebook social media service. Information The letter 'i' in a circle. Instagram The logo for the Instagram social media service. External Link An arrow entering a square. Linkedin The logo for the LinkedIn social media service. Location Pin A map location pin. Mail An envelope. Menu Three horizontal lines indicating a menu. Minus A minus sign. Telephone An antique telephone. Plus A plus symbol indicating more or the ability to add. Search A magnifying glass. Twitter The logo for the Twitter social media service. Youtube The logo for the YouTube video sharing service.