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EPFL Researchers Invent Low-Cost Alternative to Bitcoin

By Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne (Switzerland)

October 2, 2019

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Researchers in the Distributed Computing Lab of the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) in Switzerland have developed a system that represents a new, low-cost way to think about cryptocurrencies.

The traditional Bitcoin model relies on "consensus" to guarantee the security of transactions; everyone in a distributed system must agree on the validity of all transactions to prevent malicious users from cheating.

In contrast, the new Byzantine Reliable Broadcast system takes a minimalist approach to security.

Explained EPFL's Rachid Guerraoui, "We realize that players don’t need to reach consensus; they just need to prevent malicious behavior when it manifests.”

If a malicious player wants to make a payment, the system would not allow anyone to accept money from that player until a randomly chosen sample has confirmed the player has not sent money to anyone else.

The system can achieve safe cryptocurrency transactions on a large scale with an energy cost “roughly equivalent to that of exchanging emails,” Guerraoui said.

From Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne
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