Two distributed system protocols need to come and work together for Braidpool to work. These are a 1) BFT consensus protocol and 2) threshold signatures. In this post, I describe what each of these provide and requirements from a network model for each of them.

A BFT consensus protocol will help all miners agree on the share of work contributed over a given period of time. Whereas, a threshold signature is required to custody the funds that will be distributed to miners by the pool.

BFT Consensus

In very simple terms the outcome of a byzantine fault tolerant consensus is an agreement on a given value. If a threshold number of parties are honest they will reach an agreed upon result that one of them proposed.

Asynchronous Network Model

BFT consensus protocols like HotStuff, Narwhal and Bullshark provide a byzantine fault tolerant protocol in an asynchronous setting.

Let’s say this is a solved problem and we pick one of these to provide an agreement between miners on the amount of valid work contributed.

Threshold Signatures

Threshold signatures provide a byzantine fault tolerant way for a group of parties to sign a message without the secret key being known to any single party.

Threshold signature protocols have requirements that are harder to satisfy. In an earlier post on FROST Library for Point to Point Networks, I described the requirements for point to point and broadcast communication channels.

Partial Synchrony and Rounds

However, one key detail missing from the post on FROST channel requirements was that FROST also requires the partially synchronous communication model where parties make progress in rounds.

If a party A doesn’t receive a message from another party B in a given “round”, aka a time period, then A assumes B is faulty. This will result in A excluding B from the next round of communication, even if B still includes A in their next round. These discrepancies are then resolved by FROST and similar round based protocols. The catch is that the clocks of all parties are to be synchronised to within a fraction of a round’s time period. Which can also be read to mean that each round has to be substantially larger than the maximum round trip time between any two parties.

The GHOST DAG is a byzantine fault tolerant protocol that plays with a round time period based on the size of the network. You can say the round time period is dynamically defined by GHOST.


A byzantine fault tolerant agreement protocol (non censorship resistant) is possible in an asynchronous network model. The threshold signature protocol however still requires a partial synchrony network model.