Monday, May 16, 2022

Australian researchers have developed a new algorithm to build better blockchains

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A global team of researchers, including from Monash University, has developed a new algorithm that makes it possible to build more resilient, efficient and faster blockchains.

The algorithm is a new Byzantine Fault Tolerance (BFT) consensus protocol, which is used to correct errors and prevent system failures, especially in blockchain applications. The higher the fault tolerance, the more resilient the blockchain system.

Research co-author Dr. Jiangshan Yu, Associate Director of the Monash Blockchain Technology Center, said the new algorithm Damysus is named after the fastest giant in Greek mythology.

“The Damysus algorithm builds on current state-of-the-art BFT consensus protocols, such as HotStuff, which was used for Facebook’s Libra blockchain,” he said.

“Through the new algorithm, we have been able to significantly increase the fault tolerance of blockchain and increase the number of transactions per second by 87.5% compared to HotStuff.

“This is by far the first and near-optimum streamlined BFT system that can simultaneously increase fault tolerance and improve performance.”

The algorithm is easy to implement for building scalable blockchains, lowering the barrier to industry adoption.

“Potential applications for the Damysus algorithm could be in traditional computing systems as well as in applications using blockchain technology, such as decentralized finance, supply chain logistics, credentials, smart energy management, NFTs and the Metaverse,” said Dr. Yu.

The algorithm was developed in collaboration with researchers, including Dr Jeremie Decouchant from TU Delft, David Kozhaya from ABB Zurich and Dr Vincent Rahli from the University of Birmingham.

Many applications use trusted hardware to defend against cyber attacks. BFT protocols can be implemented to make cybersecurity more resilient.

“Given the plethora of devices today that inherently contain some form of trusted hardware, pragmatically, our results in Damysus make BFT protocols more attractive for use in real systems,” said Dr. Kozhaya.

This research was supported in part by the Australian Research Council (ARC) under project DE210100019, which aims to address the security and scalability challenges limiting blockchain adoption.

The research results will be presented at the EuroSys 2022 conference in France, April 5-8.

The conference paper about Damyus is here.

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