Protocol Labs Research

ConsensusLab’s vision is to be the go-to place for scalable decentralised consensus research. In the true spirit of Protocol Labs Research, we aim to become a hub for the collaborative advancement of human knowledge on this challenging topic. Together with a wide network of academic and industry partners, and in collaboration with other open projects, our team will be building an engine for the decentralised web.

For more information on our problems of interest, projects, and other activities, check out the protocol/ConsensusLab repo on GitHub.


Visiting researchers

Problems of interest

Related talks

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Bitcoin checkpointing project update
ConsensusLab 22Q2 Team Week / 2022.02.07 / Dubai, UAE
Hierarchical consensus project update
ConsensusLab 22Q2 Team Week / 2022.02.07 / Dubai, UAE
Parallel execution project update
ConsensusLab 22Q2 Team Week / 2022.02.07 / Dubai, UAE
Tendermint subnet consensus project update
ConsensusLab 22Q2 Team Week / 2022.02.07 / Dubai, UAE
Filecoin hierarchical consensus
Protocol Labs Research Talks / 2022.02.03

Related publications

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2022-04-20 / Conference paper
State machine replication scalability made simple
Consensus, state machine replication (SMR) and total order broadcast (TOB) protocols are notorious for being poorly scalable with the number of participating nodes. Despite the recent race to reduce overall message complexity of leader-driven SMR/TOB protocols, scalability remains poor and the throughput is typically inversely proportional to the number of nodes.
EuroSys '22: Seventeenth European Conference on Computer Systems / 2022.04.06 / Rennes, France
Chrysoula Stathakopoulou, Matej Pavlovic , Marko Vukolić
2022-03-11 / Conference paper
Hierarchical consensus: A horizontal scaling framework for blockchains
We present the Filecoin Hierarchical Consensus framework, which aims to overcome the throughput challenges of blockchain consensus by horizontally scaling the network. Unlike traditional sharding designs, based on partitioning the state of the network, our solution centers on the concept of subnets –which are organized hierarchically– and can be spawned on-demand to manage new state.
DINPS 22 (to appear) / 2022.07.10 / Bologna, Italy
Alfonso de la Rocha , Lefteris Kokoris-Kogias, Jorge M. Soares , Marko Vukolić
2022-01-26 / Conference paper
Decentralisation conscious players and system reliability
We propose a game-theoretic model of the reliability of de- centralised systems based on Varian’s model of system reliability [27], to which we add a new normalized total effort case that models decentrali- sation conscious players that prioritize decentralisation.
Financial Cryptography and Data Security 2022 / 2022.05.02 / St. George's, Grenada
Sarah Azouvi , Alexander Hicks
2022-01-24 / Conference paper
Sliding window challenge process for congestion detection
Many prominent smart contract applications such as payment channels, auctions, and voting systems often involve a mechanism in which some party must respond to a challenge or appeal some action within a fixed time limit.
Financial Cryptography and Data Security 2022 / 2022.05.02 / St. George’s, Grenada
Ayelet Lotem, Sarah Azouvi , Aviv Zohar, Patrick McCorry
2021-11-23 / Journal article
On the future of decentralized computing
Decentralized systems (e.g., blockchain systems) have the potential to revolutionize financial and payment systems, as well as the internet — for the good of humankind and planet Earth. This position paper aims at justifying this standpoint and at laying out a vision for the future of decentralized computing.
Bulletin of the European Association for Theoretical Computer Science / 2021.11.23
2021-11-16 / Conference paper
Private attacks in longest chain proof-of-stake protocols with single secret leader elections
Single Secret Leader Elections have recently been proposed as an improved leader election mechanism for proof-of-stake (PoS) blockchains. However, the security gain they provide has not been quantified. In this work, we present a comparison of PoS longest-chain protocols that are based on Single Secret Leader Elections (SSLE) - that elect exactly one leader per round - versus those based on Probabilistic Leader Elections (PLE) - where one leader is elected on expectation.
AFT '21: 3rd ACM Conference on Advances in Financial Technologies / 2021.09.28
Sarah Azouvi , Daniele Cappelletti
2020-10-21 / Conference paper
Winkle: foiling long-range attacks in proof-of-stake systems
Winkle protects any validator-based byzantine fault tolerant consensus mechanisms, such as those used in modern Proof-of-Stake blockchains, against long-range attacks where old validators’ signature keys get compromised. Winkle is a decentralized secondary layer of client-based validation, where a client includes a single additional field into a transaction that they sign: a hash of the previously sequenced block.
AFT '20: 2nd ACM Conference on Advances in Financial Technologies / 2020.10.21 / New York, NY, USA
Sarah Azouvi , George Danezis, Valeria Nikolaenko
2020-03-03 / Conference paper
SoK: Tools for game theoretic models of security for cryptocurrencies
Cryptocurrencies have garnered much attention in recent years, both from the academic community and industry. One interesting aspect of cryptocurrencies is their explicit consideration of incentives at the protocol level, which has motivated a large body of work, yet many open problems still exist and current systems rarely deal with incentive related problems well.
Cryptoeconomic Systems / 2020.03.07 / Cambridge, MA, USA
Sarah Azouvi , Alexander Hicks

Related posts

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2022-06-24 / News, Events
ConsensusFactory summary and recordings
Last Wednesday, we hosted the first edition of ConsensusFactory: Decentralized Reflections on Consensus, a new virtual event that brought together speakers from different blockchain ecosystems to talk about the scalability strategies each of their projects are pursuing.
2022-06-13 / News, Team
ConsensusLab welcomes its 2022 summer fellows!
The ConsensusLab team is excited to welcome our first summer research fellows, who will be joining us at different times throughout the summer to work on some of our core research projects.
2022-06-08 / News, Events
Join us on 22 June for ConsensusFactory!
Are you interested in consensus and distributed system scalability? So are we! That’s why we’re organizing ConsensusFactory, a new virtual event that will bring together speakers from different blockchain ecosystems, who will present the scalability approaches they are exploring.
2022-05-18 / News, Events
ConsensusDay 22: call for contributions
After a wildly successful 2021 edition, ConsensusDay is back for 2022! The goal remains the same: to provide a forum for the discussion of early-stage but high-impact research with scientific interest and real-world applications and to build a community around it.
2022-05-05 / News, Team
Sergey Fedorov joins ConsensusLab as a Research Engineer
ConsensusLab are excited to welcome Sergey Fedorov to the team! Sergey joins us from NEC Laboratories Europe, where he spent the last 5 years working on security topics, including blockchain technologies.
2022-04-20 / Blog
The first graduating class of ConsensusLab projects
When ConsensusLab launched last year, we published a roadmap covering our first 18 months. We are still working towards that same roadmap, with minor adjustments over time to accommodate the changing landscape and externalities.
2022-03-16 / Blog
Working in public @ ConsensusLab
Do you ever wonder what ConsensusLab is up to? If so, you’re in for a treat! Ever since our launch in July ‘21, we’ve been sharing our work with the broader community – one of our very first initiatives was organising ConsensusDays.
2022-03-03 / Blog
Scaling blockchains with hierarchical consensus
Scaling blockchains is not an easy task. Less so if one is looking to accommodate not only crypto-native use cases but also Web 2.0-like applications handling significant volumes of data at high throughput (of the kind that you would host with your preferred cloud provider).
Alfonso de la Rocha , Lefteris Kokoris-Kogias, Jorge M. Soares , Marko Vukolić
2022-03-02 / News, Team
Matej Pavlovic joins ConsensusLab as a Research Scientist
ConsensusLab is pleased to welcome Matej Pavlovic to the team. Matej joins us from IBM Research, where he was recently doing research on MirBFT, among other topics in blockchains and distributed systems.
2022-01-24 / News, Team
Denis Kolegov joins ConsensusLab as Research Engineer
We’re excited to welcome Denis Kolegov to the ConsensusLab team, as our newest Research Engineer. Denis joins us after a diverse career in computer security, crossing Tomsk State University, F5 Networks, BI.
2021-11-30 / News, Team
ConsensusLab welcomes Lefteris Kokoris-Kogias as an external collaborator
We are pleased to welcome Lefteris Kokoris-Kogias as an external collaborator on ConsensusLab projects. Lefteris is an assistant professor at IST Austria, where he leads the Secure, Private, and Decentralized Systems (SPiDerS) group.
2021-11-28 / News, Team
Vivien Quéma joins PL Research as an advisor to ConsensusLab
We are happy to announce that Vivien Quéma will be joining PL Research’s ConsensusLab as a research advisor. Vivien is a Professor of Computer Science at Grenoble INP and a member of the LIG laboratory.
2021-10-29 / News, Events
ConsensusDays 21 recap and recordings
It was a calm day in early August when we launched a call for contributions for ConsensusDay 21, the launch event for our ConsensusLab. Originally intended to be an intimate, one-day virtual workshop aiming to foster discussion of consensus research and bootstrap a collaboration network, it soon became clear that it was growing beyond our wildest expectations – and certainly beyond what we had planned and were prepared to accommodate.
2021-09-28 / News, Events
Announcing the ConsensusDays 21 program
After a two-week review marathon, we’re happy to announce the exciting program for ConsensusDays 21. The workshop will take place 6-7 October (next week!) in the 14:00-20:00 UTC period. We were overwhelmed by the number and quality of talk proposals, and many decisions ended up coming down to program limitations and session planning rather than quality alone.
2021-09-14 / News, Events
ConsensusDay becomes ConsensusDays 21
We would like to thank all authors for the overwhelming response to the call for contributions. We are delighted by the quality and number of submissions received, which already required us to expand our review team.
2021-08-03 / News, Events
ConsensusDay 21: call for contributions
It was only last week that we announced the launch of ConsensusLab, a new Protocol Labs research group focused on scalable consensus for decentralised systems. Looking to drive more focused research into the topic, we are now inviting you to participate in our first public event, ConsensusDay 21.
2021-07-30 / News
ConsensusLab: supercharging our consensus research
We are excited to announce the launch of ConsensusLab, a new research group focused on scalable consensus for decentralised systems and a part of Protocol Labs Research. Consensus — loosely defined as global agreement on the state of a decentralised network across its mutually untrusting participants — has been known to be at the heart of decentralised systems ever since the inception of Nakamoto’s Proof-of-Work (PoW) consensus.
2021-07-07 / News, Team
Marko Vukolić joins PL Research as ConsensusLab Lead
Protocol Labs Research is excited to announce that Marko Vukolić is joining us to establish and lead the ConsensusLab, which will explore and develop methods of coordinating distributed systems. We asked Marko why he decided to join PL Research, what he will be working on, and to share his thoughts about future technological developments: