What Is Liveness?


A guarantee that a system will continue to provide data, and that no centralized authority can shut down its services.

What Is Liveness?

A rise in cryptocurrencies prompted the creation of consensus algorithms.


For distributed systems, liveness means that a protocol is able to exchange messages among nodes, with the nodes successfully coming to a consensus.


This means that a system has liveness guaranteed.


Blockchains are regularly trying to determine which history of transactions is accurate, rather than the messages itself.


Distributed systems have a degree of correctness, and this involves an ordering of transactions. There are two elements involved in this — liveness and safety.


Liveness guarantees that good things will happen eventually, meaning there is no timeframe for these things to happen.


Termination of a distributed computation is one of many examples of liveness.


Liveness is the guarantee that all validators will reach some consensus on a value.


This can be thought of as the guarantee that no two validators will be in disagreement and reach different values. ‍


Conversely, safety is a guarantee that nothing bad will happen.


For example, Bitcoin’s use of the Nakamoto Consensus means that there is an emphasis on liveness on Bitcoin’s blockchain.


Nakamoto Consensus uses Proof-of-Work mining along with a metric called “longest chain wins” to determine which history is accurate.


The history and the expected history will be the same if nodes were honest.


A node which is a copy of the ledger operated by a participant of the blockchain network should not show different values when compared to another node.


Two nodes yielding different values represents a problem.


Nodes must reach agreement on what the next block should include.

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