As the topic name suggests, in this guide, we will see Byzantine Fault Tolerance in detail.
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What is Byzantine Fault Tolerance?
Byzantine Fault Tolerance(BFT) is the characteristic of a distributed network to reach consensus even when some of the nodes in the network fail to respond or respond with invalid data. In simple words, we can say that Byzantine Fault Tolerance is a computer system’s power or capability to keep on operating even if some of its nodes fail or act maliciously.
The purpose of a BFT mechanism is to provide defense against system failures by employing collective decision making which claims to reduce control or superiority of the malfunctioning nodes. Any computer system having multiple nodes, each node could be believed as a general. The system’s Byzantine Fault Tolerance implies whether it shall keep working even when a few nodes go down or purposefully try to deceive it.
The term origins from a hypothetical called the Byzantine Generals Problem. As you might expect, this is about a group of Byzantine generals. Each general possesses an army and a place surrounding a fortress, and they ought to determine as a group to assault or retreat.
They’re successful only if they all make the same decision. However, there are chances to lose the battle, if there’s a misunderstanding due to which it may happen that some generals attack while the others retreat. These types of problems are named Byzantine faults.
Importance of Byzantine Fault Tolerance
Byzantine Fault Tolerance is important, from a computing point of view, because it is the feature, by which, even if particular components or nodes stop working, a system can keep working and be active. Anything that implements a computing system, such as an airplane or a space probe, needs to be capable to function when not all of its nodes are at peak of working(100%). In blockchains that handle cryptocurrency transactions, Byzantine Fault Tolerance acts as a prime element.
How does Byzantine Fault Tolerance relate to blockchain?
Blockchain achieves Byzantine Fault Tolerance through the consensus algorithm. Since the main idea of cryptocurrencies is decentralization, each one deals with a large-scale version of the Byzantine Generals Problem. The blockchain requires to be working even if it has nodes that aren’t working correctly or are providing misguiding data.