EPFL’s Decentralized and Distributed Systems Laboratory under Bryan Ford has developed an innovative and effective solution to counter delays, inconsistencies and attacks encountered by users of the increasingly popular virtual currency Bitcoin.

Dubbed ByzCoin, the solution is inspired by protocols such as Practical Byzantine Fault Tolerance (PBFT). It is based on the idea that an active group of Bitcoin miners using novel cryptographic algorithms work collectively on the transaction blocks that, once verified, are added to the blockchain – the bitcoin network’s public ledger. The miners would only require the approval of two-thirds of other members of their group for each transaction to be processed.

This approach would guarantee a higher level of consistency within the blockchain and allow transactions to be irreversibly confirmed within seconds. Accelerated confirmation would mitigate dishonest practices such as double spending and selfish mining.