Resources / White Papers

White Papers

Algorand is dedicated to fostering constant evolution to anticipate and fulfill future technology needs on our platform. Our researchers represent some of the best and brightest in blockchain and cryptocurrency. Recent research that has been peer reviewed and edited is found below.
Mar 05, 2019
Digital Signatures for Consensus
By Sergey Gorbunov, Hoeteck Wee

We present a pairing-based signature scheme for use in blockchains that achieves substantial savings in bandwidth and storage requirements while providing strong security guarantees. Our signature scheme supports aggregation on the same message, which allows us to compress multiple signatures on the same block during consensus, and achieves forward security, which prevents adaptive attacks on the blockchain. Our signature scheme can be applied to all blockchains that rely on multi-party consensus protocols to agree on blocks of transactions (such as proof-of-stake or permissioned blockchains).

This white paper has been published here.

Feb 24, 2019
Vault: Fast Bootstrapping for the Algorand Cryptocurrency
By Derek Leung, Adam Suhl, Yossi Gilad, Nickolai Zeldovich

Abstract: Decentralized cryptocurrencies rely on participants to keep track of the state of the system in order to verify new transactions. As the number of users and transactions grows, this requirement becomes a significant burden, requiring users to download, verify, and store a large amount of data to participate. Vault is a new cryptocurrency design based on Algorand that minimizes these storage and bootstrapping costs for participants. Vault’s design is based on Algorand’s proof-of-stake consensus protocol and uses several techniques to achieve its goals. First, Vault decouples the storage of recent transactions from the storage of account balances, which enables Vault to delete old account state. Second, Vault allows sharding state across participants in a way that preserves strong security guarantees. Finally, Vault introduces the notion of stamping certificates, which allow a new client to catch up securely and efficiently in a proof-of-stake system without having to verify every single block. Experiments with a prototype implementation of Vault’s data structures show that Vault’s design reduces the bandwidth cost of joining the network as a full client by 99.7% compared to Bitcoin and 90.5% compared to Ethereum when downloading a ledger containing 500 million transactions.

The peer reviewed white paper can been viewed here.

Aug 28, 2018
Algorand Agreement - Super Fast and Partition Resilient Byzantine Agreement
By Jing Chen, Sergey Gorbunov, Silvio Micali, Georgios Vlachos

Abstract: We present a simple Byzantine agreement protocol with leader election, that works under > 2/3 honest majority and does not rely on the participants having synchronized clocks. When honest messages are delivered within a bounded worst-case delay, agreement is reached in expected constant number of steps when the elected leader is malicious, and is reached after two steps when the elected leader is honest. Our protocol is resilient to arbitrary network partitions with unknown length, and recovers fast after the partition is resolved and bounded message delay is restored. We will briefly discuss how the protocol applies to blockchains in a permissionless system. In particular, when an honest leader proposes a block of transactions, the first voting step happens in parallel with the block propagation. Effectively, after the block propagates, a certificate is generated in just one step of voting.

This white paper has been published here.

Oct 31, 2017
Algorand: Scaling Byzantine Agreements for Cryptocurrencies
By Yossi Gilad, Rotem Hemo, Silvio Micali, Georgios Vlachos, Nickolai Zeldovich

Abstract: Algorand uses a new Byzantine Agreement (BA) protocol to reach consensus among users on the next set of transactions. To scale the consensus to many users, Algorand uses a novel mechanism based on Verifiable Random Functions that allows users to privately check whether they are selected to participate in the BA to agree on the next set of transactions, and to include a proof of their selection in their network messages. In Algorand’s BA protocol, users do not keep any private state except for their private keys, which allows Algorand to replace participants immediately after they send a message. This mitigates targeted attacks on chosen participants after their identity is revealed.

We implement Algorand and evaluate its performance on 1,000 EC2 virtual machines, simulating up to 500,000 users. Experimental results show that Algorand confirms transactions in under a minute, achieves 125x Bitcoin’s throughput, and incurs almost no penalty for scaling to more users.

This whitepaper has been peer edited and reviewed and is published here.

May 26, 2017
Algorand Theoretical Paper
By Jing Chen, Silvio Micali

Abstract: A public ledger is a tamperproof sequence of data that can be read and augmented by everyone. Public ledgers have innumerable and compelling uses. They can secure, in plain sight, all kinds of transactions —such as titles, sales, and payments— in the exact order in which they occur. Public ledgers not only curb corruption, but also enable very sophisticated applications —such as cryptocurrencies and smart contracts. They stand to revolutionize the way a democratic society operates. As currently implemented, however, they scale poorly and cannot achieve their potential. Algorand is a truly democratic and efficient way to implement a public ledger. Unlike prior implementations based on proof of work, it requires a negligible amount of computation, and generates a transaction history that will not “fork” with overwhelmingly high probability.

This whitepaper has been peer edited and reviewed and is published here.