One key innovation of Bitcoin’s longest-chain consensus protocol over class Byzantine Fault Tolerant (BFT) protocols is its support for dynamic participation. The Bitcoin protocol has operated for over a decade, during which it has witnessed a billionfold increase as well as large and sudden drops in the participation level (represented by the total hashing rate). But to support this level of robustness, longest-chain protocols suffer from long latency.
Classic BFT protocols, on the other hand, can achieve constant latency but cannot progress under dynamic participation. Ling Ren (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign) presents a protocol that simultaneously supports dynamic participation and achieves constant latency. The core technique extends the classic BFT approach from static quorum size to dynamic quorum size – according to the current participation level, while preserving important properties of static quorums.
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