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Consensus Algorithms: The Basics, the Problems and the Path to Efficiency at Distributed 2018


At BTC Inc’s flagship blockchain conference in San Francisco, Distributed 2018, experts from a wide variety of fields within the industry came to discuss the most salient issues facing distributed ledger technology. Several of these specialists participated in a panel discussion on the topic of consensus algorithms and their growth and expected proliferation as the space evolves.

The most critical issue facing the development of efficient blockchain use cases, in these experts’ opinion, is how these cases will effectively deal with “Byzantine actors,” or those acting in bad faith. Consensus algorithms are the key to keeping these platforms secure despite these bad actors, and there is often a trade-off between cost-efficiency and adhering to the vision of a truly decentralized, distributed platform.

Tyler Evans from BTC Inc. hosted the panel, directing each of the entrepreneurs with questions related to their own specialities. Jae Kwon, the founder and CEO of Tendermint, discussed the manner in which he uses consensus algorithms to run a network of blockchains. Mahnush Movahhedi, senior research engineer at DFINITY, used her in-depth knowledge of protocol stacks and running multiple codes on the same network to give a broader definition of consensus, and some of the different approaches to it. Larry Liu, founder of the Genaro network, went into great detail on the differences between proof-of-stake and proof-of-work systems, highlighting the pros and cons of each.

Approaching one issue from a variety of objective professional perspectives was the standard for all of the expert panels at Distributed 2018. For further exploration of other topics in the blockchain space, visit Distributed’s YouTube channel.

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