Optimal bootstrapping of PoW blockchains

Ranvir Rana, Dimitris Karakostas, Sreeram Kannan, Aggelos Kiayias, Pramod Viswanath

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


Proof of Work (PoW) blockchains are susceptible to adversarial majority mining attacks in the early stages due to incipient participation and corresponding low net hash power. Bootstrapping ensures safety and liveness during the transient stage by protecting against a majority mining attack, allowing a PoW chain to grow the participation base and corresponding mining hash power. Liveness is especially important since a loss of liveness will lead to loss of honest mining rewards, decreasing honest participation, hence creating an undesired spiral; indeed existing bootstrapping mechanisms offer especially weak liveness guarantees. In this paper, we propose Advocate, a new bootstrapping methodology, which achieves two main results: (a) optimal liveness and low latency under a super-majority adversary for the Nakamoto longest chain protocol and (b) immediate black-box generalization to a variety of parallel-chain based scaling architectures, including OHIE [34] and Prism [4]. We demonstrate via a full-stack implementation the robustness of Advocate under a 90% adversarial majority.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationMobiHoc 2022 - Proceedings of the 2022 23rd International Symposium on Theory, Algorithmic Foundations, and Protocol Design for Mobile Networks and Mobile Computing
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery
Number of pages10
ISBN (Electronic)9781450391658
StatePublished - Oct 3 2022
Event23rd ACM International Symposium on Mobile Ad Hoc Networking and Computing, MobiHoc 2022 - Seoul, Korea, Republic of
Duration: Oct 17 2022Oct 20 2022

Publication series

NameProceedings of the International Symposium on Mobile Ad Hoc Networking and Computing (MobiHoc)


Conference23rd ACM International Symposium on Mobile Ad Hoc Networking and Computing, MobiHoc 2022
Country/TerritoryKorea, Republic of

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hardware and Architecture
  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Software


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