Since the emergence of Bitcoin and its Proof-of-Work, lots of progress has been made to find new consensus algorithms. Everything has been reviewed:
• Network bandwidth
• Network scaling
• Resistance to a whole class of new attacks, specific to blockchain networks
One of these innovative technologies is Tendermint, a core technology used in the WorkQuest blockchain. Tendermint is an advanced consensus solution based on BFT (Byzantine Fault Tolerance).
Tendermint consists of two main components: the consensus engine and the application interface. The consensus engine is called Tendermint Core and is responsible for ensuring that the same transactions are recorded on each machine in the same order. The application interface, or ABCI, makes it possible to process transactions in any programming language.
Those who maintain the network (that is, participate in building consensus) are called validators. Unlike the proof-of-work or proof-of-stake processes where anyone can become a miner at any time, only the validators can take part in the formation of the blockchain in BFT.
How a regular network member becomes a validator depends on the specific implementation.
In the Tendermint implementation, you can always get an exact list of validators for any block. They are identified by their public keys, and during the voting process, they sign messages sent to other validators and ordinary network participants with the corresponding private keys. Thus, you can always determine the author of a particular vote and be sure that no one “from the outside” will be able to take part in building a consensus.
The Tendermint Core voting mechanism consists of several rounds. Each round is a three-step process: Validators propose a block, announce their intention to finish creating it, and then sign the finished blocks.
The consensus algorithm starts with a set of validators. They take turns offering blocks at each new height of the blockchain. One validator offering a block is allocated per round. Each proposal is signed with the corresponding validator’s private key, so that, in the event of any failure, the validator responsible for it can be identified. The other validators vote with their private keys on each proposal. However, due to the asynchronous nature of the network, creating a block can take several rounds.
Before proceeding to the next round, the validators wait for the finished offer to be received within a certain time period. The protocol is asynchronous, and validators can only move on after getting a 2/3 super-majority approval. This means that 2/3 of the validators must be online, otherwise the network may stop.
The main advantages of the Tendermint consensus include:
• A security threshold of1/3 of validators
• Instant completion in 1–3 seconds, depending on the number of validators
• Priority given to consistency
• Secure consensus in an asynchronous network
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