CheapBFT: Resource-efficient Byzantine Fault Tolerance

Kapitza R, Behl J, Cachin C, Distler T, Kuhnle S, Mohammadi SV, Schröder-Preikschat W, Stengel K (2012)

Publication Type: Conference contribution

Publication year: 2012

Edited Volumes: EuroSys'12 - Proceedings of the EuroSys 2012 Conference

Pages Range: 295-308

Conference Proceedings Title: Proceedings of the EuroSys 2012 Conference (EuroSys '12)

Event location: Bern


DOI: 10.1145/2168836.2168866


One of the main reasons why Byzantine fault-tolerant (BFT) systems are not widely used lies in their high resource consumption: 3f + 1 replicas are necessary to tolerate only f faults. Recent works have been able to reduce the minimum number of replicas to 2f + 1 by relying on a trusted subsystem that prevents a replica from making conflicting statements to other replicas without being detected. Nevertheless, having been designed with the focus on fault handling, these systems still employ a majority of replicas during normal-case operation for seemingly redundant work. Furthermore, the trusted subsystems available trade off performance for security; that is, they either achieve high throughput or they come with a small trusted computing base. This paper presents CheapBFT, a BFT system that, for the first time, tolerates that all but one of the replicas active in normal-case operation become faulty. CheapBFT runs a composite agreement protocol and exploits passive replication to save resources; in the absence of faults, it requires that only f + 1 replicas actively agree on client requests and execute them. In case of suspected faulty behavior, CheapBFT triggers a transition protocol that activates f extra passive replicas and brings all non-faulty replicas into a consistent state again. This approach, for example, allows the system to safely switch to another, more resilient agreement protocol. CheapBFT relies on an FPGA-based trusted subsystem for the authentication of protocol messages that provides high performance and comprises a small trusted computing base. © 2012 ACM.

Authors with CRIS profile

Related research project(s)

Involved external institutions

How to cite


Kapitza, R., Behl, J., Cachin, C., Distler, T., Kuhnle, S., Mohammadi, S.V.,... Stengel, K. (2012). CheapBFT: Resource-efficient Byzantine Fault Tolerance. In Proceedings of the EuroSys 2012 Conference (EuroSys '12) (pp. 295-308). Bern.


Kapitza, Rüdiger, et al. "CheapBFT: Resource-efficient Byzantine Fault Tolerance." Proceedings of the EuroSys 2012, Bern 2012. 295-308.

BibTeX: Download