Bitcoin-Enhanced Proof-of-Stake Security: Possibilities and Impossibilities

Ertem Nusret Tas, David Tse, Fangyu Gai, Sreeram Kannan, Mohammad Ali Maddah-Ali, Fisher Yu

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

1 Scopus citations


Bitcoin is the most secure blockchain in the world, supported by the immense hash power of its Proof-of-Work miners. Proof-of-Stake chains are energy-efficient, have fast finality but face several security issues: susceptibility to non-slashable long-range safety attacks, low liveness resilience and difficulty to bootstrap from low token valuation. We show that these security issues are inherent in any PoS chain without an external trusted source, and propose a new protocol, Babylon, where an off-the-shelf PoS protocol checkpoints onto Bitcoin to resolve these issues. An impossibility result justifies the optimality of Babylon. A use case of Babylon is to reduce the stake withdrawal delay: our experimental results show that this delay can be reduced from weeks in existing PoS chains to less than 5 hours using Babylon, at a transaction cost of less than 10K USD per annum for posting the checkpoints onto Bitcoin.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationProceedings - 44th IEEE Symposium on Security and Privacy, SP 2023
PublisherInstitute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc.
Number of pages20
ISBN (Electronic)9781665493369
StatePublished - 2023
Event44th IEEE Symposium on Security and Privacy, SP 2023 - Hybrid, San Francisco, United States
Duration: May 22 2023May 25 2023

Publication series

Name2023 IEEE Symposium on Security and Privacy (SP)


Conference44th IEEE Symposium on Security and Privacy, SP 2023
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityHybrid, San Francisco

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 IEEE.


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