What makes a blockchain a blockchain?
The Bitfury Group is now weighing in with its definition of one of the more often-debated words in the FinTech sector.
As part of its recent shift toward enterprise blockchain services and consulting, Bitfury’s latest research paper, entitled ‘On Blockchain Accountability’, takes aim at this argument, aiming to parse out the underlying innovations that make bitcoin’s blockchain a “blockchain”, and by extension, the features that may be necessary to label code releases as such.
According to the paper, blockchain is best defined as the union of three distinct technologies (Byzantine fault-tolerant systems, digital time-stamping services and currency ledgers using cryptographic primitives), each of which it argues was “well studied” before the introduction of the bitcoin blockchain.
The paper reads:
“A blockchain is a replicated, autonomous, Byzantine fault-tolerant log with consensus based on blocks that permits external auditing and lightweight nodes, and provides non-repudiation of the log entries.”
Notably, Bitfury, one of the largest miners on the bitcoin blockchain, does not limit its definition to proof-of-work blockchains, arguing the properties of that underlie its definition could be satisfied by different means.
Bitfury, however, goes on to assert that, at their core, blockchains must provide auditing and