file icon

What is Cerberus?

Cerberus is the unique consensus protocol underpinning Radix. Research started in 2013, resulted in the Cerberus Whitepaper in 2020, and was published in the peer-reviewed Journal of Systems Research, JSys, in 2023.

See Cerberus Consensus: Peer Reviewed for a summary of that peer-reviewed paper which involved independent experts verifying the proof, theory, and soundness of Cerberus; and concluded that Cerberus is the most efficient consensus protocol, has the best throughput, and the lowest latency when compared to other state of the art multi-shard consensus protocols.

How Cerberus is going to be implemented in its final fully sharded form is the focus of Radix Labs and Cassandra.

In its final form, Cerberus represents a radically different paradigm in the design of decentralized Distributed Ledger Technology systems. It is the only protocol that is designed so that all transactions are atomically composed across shards. This is a critical feature if DeFi is to ever scale to billions of users.

Cerberus takes a well-proven “single-pipe” BFT (Byzantine Fault Tolerance) consensus process and parallelizes it across an extensive set of instances or shards – practically an unlimited number of shards. It achieves this parallelization through a unique new “braided” synchronization of consensus across shards, as required by the “dependencies” of each transaction. This requires the use of a specialized application layer called the Radix Engine.

All of this provides Cerberus with practically infinite “linear” scalability. This means that as more nodes are added to the Radix Public Network, throughput increases linearly. As a result, Cerberus is the only consensus protocol that is capable of supporting the global financial system on a decentralized network.

For the Babylon mainnet versions, Cerberus was used in a simplified unsharded form. For more details on what unsharded Cerberus is capable of, see here.

Further reading: