Federated Byzantine Agreement

Dmitri Dervoed
 — Nov 4, 2018
min. read

What is Federated Byzantine Agreement?

Federated Byzantine Agreement is an advanced consensus mechanism introduced by Ripple and displayed by Stellar. It elegantly solves the Byzantine Generals Problem by ensuring every Byzantine general, responsible for their own chain, sorts messages as they come in to establish truth.

Byzantine Generals’ Problem explained

Originally described in the 1982 paper by Leslie Lamport, Robert Shostak and Marshall Pease, Byzantine Generals’ Problem is an agreement problem in which a group of generals, each commanding a portion of the Byzantine army, encircle a city. These generals wish to formulate a plan for attacking the city. In its simplest form, the generals must decide only whether to attack or retreat. Some generals may prefer to attack, while others prefer to retreat. The important thing is that every general reach a consensus, for a halfhearted attack by a few generals would become a rout, and would be worse than either a coordinated attack or a coordinated retreat.

What are the synonyms of Federated Byzantine Agreement?

It is generally abbreviated as :


FBA Protocol

How does it work?

Federated Byzantine Agreement permits reaching consensus among large numbers of participants who don’t know each other personally, and in situations when the total number of participants may not even be known. Each participant extends to trust to only a limited (by number) group of other participants, and therefore achieves consensus only amongst a narrow circle.

What industry uses it?

The Byzantine Agreement is a very common computing term but extremely prevalent with the advent of distributed computing and blockchain.

Examples of Federated Byzantine Agreement:

Stellar is the best example of the FBA deployed in a real use case scenario. The link to the whitepaper for Stellar can be found here – https://www.stellar.org/papers/stellar-consensus-protocol.pdf

Related Articles:

Hybrid Consensus Mechanism of NeuronChain