Technologies of Blockchain — Part 2: Distributed Systems

  • Byzantine Fault Tolerance (BFT) by Lamport, Shostak, and Pease in 1982, to deal with situations where one or more of the nodes in the distributed system become faulty or malicious.
  • Proof-of-Work (POW), first described in 1993 and the term coined in 1999, which is a technique for providing economic disincentives for malicious attacks. A precursor idea of POW was proposed in 1992 by Cynthia Dwork and Moni Naor, as a means to combatting junk mail — a problem that was already a significant nuisance way back in 1992! Their solution was to require a sender to solve a computational problem that was easy enough for sending emails normally, but becomes computationally expensive for sending massive amounts of junk emails.
  • Hashcash, a POW algorithm, was proposed by Adam Back in 1997. This was used as the basis of POW in bitcoin by Satoshi Nakamoto in 2008, which brought awareness of POW to a much wider audience.
  • A high-performance version of BFT, called Practical Byzantine Fault Tolerance (PBFT), by Miguel Castro and Barbara Liskov, in 1999; and so on.
  • Paxos, a family of consensus algorithms, has its roots in a 1988 work by Dwork, Lynch, and Stockmeyer, and first published in 1998 (even though conceived several years earlier) by Leslie Lamport.
  • Raft consensus algorithm was developed by Diego Ongaro and John Ousterhout. Published in 2014, it was designed to be a more understandable alternative to Paxos.

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