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Byzantine Eventual Consistency and the Fundamental Limits of Peer-to-Peer Databases

A talk at Protocol Labs ConsensusDays, Online, 07 Oct 2021


Sybil attacks, in which a large number of adversary-controlled nodes join a network, are a concern for many peer-to-peer database systems, necessitating expensive countermeasures such as proof-of-work. However, there is a category of database applications that are, by design, immune to Sybil attacks because they can tolerate arbitrary numbers of Byzantine-faulty nodes. In this paper, we characterize this category of applications using a consistency model we call Byzantine Eventual Consistency (BEC). We introduce an algorithm that guarantees BEC based on Byzantine causal broadcast, prove its correctness, and demonstrate near-optimal performance in a prototype implementation.