License: Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International license (CC BY 4.0)
When quoting this document, please refer to the following
DOI: 10.4230/LIPIcs.AFT.2023.14
URN: urn:nbn:de:0030-drops-192037
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Agrawal, Shresth ; Neu, Joachim ; Tas, Ertem Nusret ; Zindros, Dionysis

Proofs of Proof-Of-Stake with Sublinear Complexity

LIPIcs-AFT-2023-14.pdf (1 MB)


Popular Ethereum wallets (like MetaMask) entrust centralized infrastructure providers (e.g., Infura) to run the consensus client logic on their behalf. As a result, these wallets are light-weight and high-performant, but come with security risks. A malicious provider can mislead the wallet by faking payments and balances, or censoring transactions. On the other hand, light clients, which are not in popular use today, allow decentralization, but are concretely inefficient, often with asymptotically linear bootstrapping complexity. This poses a dilemma between decentralization and performance.
We design, implement, and evaluate a new proof-of-stake (PoS) superlight client with concretely efficient and asymptotically logarithmic bootstrapping complexity. Our proofs of proof-of-stake (PoPoS) take the form of a Merkle tree of PoS epochs. The verifier enrolls the provers in a bisection game, in which honest provers are destined to win once an adversarial Merkle tree is challenged at sufficient depth. We provide an implementation for mainnet Ethereum: compared to the state-of-the-art light client construction of Ethereum, our client improves time-to-completion by 9×, communication by 180×, and energy usage by 30× (when bootstrapping after 10 years of consensus execution). As an important additional application, our construction can be used to realize trustless cross-chain bridges, in which the superlight client runs within a smart contract and takes the role of an on-chain verifier. We prove our construction is secure and show how to employ it for other PoS systems such as Cardano (with fully adaptive adversary), Algorand, and Snow White.

BibTeX - Entry

  author =	{Agrawal, Shresth and Neu, Joachim and Tas, Ertem Nusret and Zindros, Dionysis},
  title =	{{Proofs of Proof-Of-Stake with Sublinear Complexity}},
  booktitle =	{5th Conference on Advances in Financial Technologies (AFT 2023)},
  pages =	{14:1--14:24},
  series =	{Leibniz International Proceedings in Informatics (LIPIcs)},
  ISBN =	{978-3-95977-303-4},
  ISSN =	{1868-8969},
  year =	{2023},
  volume =	{282},
  editor =	{Bonneau, Joseph and Weinberg, S. Matthew},
  publisher =	{Schloss Dagstuhl -- Leibniz-Zentrum f{\"u}r Informatik},
  address =	{Dagstuhl, Germany},
  URL =		{},
  URN =		{urn:nbn:de:0030-drops-192037},
  doi =		{10.4230/LIPIcs.AFT.2023.14},
  annote =	{Keywords: Proof-of-stake, blockchain, light client, superlight, bridge, Ethereum}

Keywords: Proof-of-stake, blockchain, light client, superlight, bridge, Ethereum
Collection: 5th Conference on Advances in Financial Technologies (AFT 2023)
Issue Date: 2023
Date of publication: 18.10.2023
Supplementary Material: Software: archived at:

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