coingecko (thumbnail mini)
Continue in app
Track prices in real-time
coingecko (thumbnail mini)
Continue in app
Track prices in real-time

Byzantine Generals’ Problem

By CoinGecko | Updated on Mar 03, 2020
A term used to describe the situation a single strategy which requires consensus from all members within a group who cannot be trusted or verified. An example of the Byzantine general problem can be found as follows: Imagine a city besieged and surrounded by the Byzantine army led by 5 different generals. All 5 generals surrounding the city have to formulate an attack plan and in its simplest form, it is merely between attacking and retreating. The generals are far apart from one another, and the only means of communication is via messengers (who may be spies, or be killed/replaced by enemy messengers). To further complicate matters, some generals may be malicious and can tamper with the votes. Suppose the generals now cast votes to decide whether to attack or retreat and thus also informing the rest of their decision at the same time. This however presents a problem – if any of the generals are malicious/messenger gets replaced, some generals may be tricked into attacking. So, how can the Byzantine Generals ensure that their votes cannot be tampered with? This problem is analogous to that of a decentralized peer-to-peer system – the challenge is to ensure that all nodes (generals) are looking at information (votes) that are valid and not tampered with.

Share this with a friend!

Related Terms

Atomic SWAP
Atomic Swap refers to the exchange of cryptocurrencies that operate in different block chains without intermediaries.
Ponzi Scheme
A Ponzi scheme is also referred to as pyramid scheme, and typically takes the form of an investment scheme which pays existing investors with funds collected from new investors.
Directed Acyclic Graph (DAG)
Directed acyclic graphs refers to a data structure that is built in one single direction, yet branches out and never repeats.
Pump and Dump Scheme
A market manipulation method to drive up the price of an asset before profiting by driving it back down.
Hungry for more knowledge?
Back to Glossary or Subscribe to our newsletter.