On security analysis of proof-of-elapsed-time (PoET)

Lin Chen, Lei Xu, Nolan Shah, Zhimin Gao, Yang Lu, Weidong Shi

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review

215 Scopus citations


As more applications are built on top of blockchain and public ledger, different approaches are developed to improve the performance of blockchain construction. Recently Intel proposed a new concept of proof-of-elapsed-time (PoET), which leverages trusted computing to enforce random waiting times for block construction. However, trusted computing component may not be perfect and 100% reliable. It is not clear, to what extent, blockchain systems based on PoET can tolerate failures of trusted computing component. The current design of PoET lacks rigorous security analysis and a theoretical foundation for assessing its strength against such attacks. To fulfill this gap, we develop a theoretical framework for evaluating a PoET based blockchain system, and show that the current design is vulnerable in the sense that adversary can jeopardize the blockchain system by only compromising Θ (log log n/log n) fraction of the participating nodes, which is very small when n is relatively large. Based on our theoretical analysis, we also propose methods to mitigate these vulnerabilities.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationStabilization, Safety, and Security of Distributed Systems - 19th International Symposium, SSS 2017, Proceedings
EditorsPhilippas Tsigas, Paul Spirakis
Number of pages16
ISBN (Print)9783319690834
StatePublished - 2017
Event19th International Symposium on Stabilization, Safety, and Security of Distributed Systems, SSS 2017 - Boston, United States
Duration: Nov 5 2017Nov 8 2017

Publication series

NameLecture Notes in Computer Science (including subseries Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence and Lecture Notes in Bioinformatics)
Volume10616 LNCS
ISSN (Print)0302-9743
ISSN (Electronic)1611-3349


Conference19th International Symposium on Stabilization, Safety, and Security of Distributed Systems, SSS 2017
Country/TerritoryUnited States


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