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What is Practical Byzantine Fault Tolerance (PBFT)?

Apps to make data secure and immutable are rolled out every other season. The benefits of using Blockchain Technology overrides these issues to a large extent. Every block in a Blockchain uses a consensus mechanism to derive an outcome by achieving a consensus among its participants on the Blockchain.

Larger the network, greater are the chances of attacks from malicious participants. The Practical Byzantine Fault Tolerance (PBFT) consensus mechanism was introduced to negate such possible malicious intent of nodes.

Unlike other consensus mechanisms, the PBFT mechanism is used in a permissioned Blockchain and not a public one. Every participant involved is first vetted by the network owner.

The Blockchain database is then divided into smaller, easily manageable data ‘shards’. The message received by each ‘shard’ runs through a computation to arrive at a decision. This decision is shared with other shards in the network. When all the different shards reach a consensus on the result, a block is added onto the Blockchain. Since the computation is run through several verifications, malicious attackers in the system cannot alter the network as their identities are revealed if done so.

Advantages of PBFT Consensus Mechanism over others

  1. 1. Risk of Centralization of Blockchain is eliminated as the frequency of transactions are increased between each shard.
  2. 2. Energy Utilization is reduced as hashing energy is not required to enter the next block.
  3. 3. Larger scalability and lower transaction fees

What is the Use-Cases of PBFT Consensus Mechanism?

Zilliqa coins, Hyperledger, Stellar and Ripple use the PBFT consensus mechanism in their Blockchain network.

Using this consensus mechanism has increased the scalability of transactions and authenticity of their Blockchain. It has been proved to be an energy and cost-efficient alternative to other consensus mechanisms.

  1. 1. NGO’s – In PBFT mechanism, the network is divided into smaller units. They help in maintaining confidentiality, resilience, flexibility, and scalability of transactions. NGOs can keep a tab on the moral functioning of its funds, divisions and structure using this mechanism in its Blockchain.
  2. 2. Health Care – The secure, immutable and trustless network of a Blockchain can use PBFT mechanism to fragment systems and generate better insights, improve efficiency and support.
  3. 3. National Security – Since government data needs to remain confidential yet transparent, the PBFT consensus mechanism in its Blockchain can be used to eliminate the myriad attackers who try to disrupt the network.
  4. 4. Government – The centralized system of governance leads to accumulated power, wealth and resources in a few hands. Using the PBFT mechanism in Blockchain can make the system transparent, accountable and eliminate corruption.
  5. 5. PBFT has proved to make the Blockchain robust and improve its performance. However, it has been proved beneficial only for small consensus groups as the scale of transactions is large but outcome few. Platforms to optimize PBFT is continually devised and implemented to keep the system’s integrity and operability.