Building a Sybil-Resilient Digital Community Utilizing Trust-Graph Connectivity

Ouri Poupko, Gal Shahaf, Ehud Shapiro, Nimrod Talmon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Preventing fake or duplicate digital identities (aka sybils) from joining a digital community may be crucial to its survival, especially if it utilizes a consensus protocol among its members or employs democratic governance, where sybils can undermine consensus, tilt decisions, or even take over. Here, we explore the use of a trust-graph of identities, with edges representing trust among identity owners, to allow a community to grow indefinitely without increasing its sybil penetration. Since identities are admitted to the digital community based on their trust by existing digital community members, corrupt identities, which may trust sybils, also pose a threat to the digital community. Sybils and their corrupt perpetrators are together referred to as byzantines, and the overarching aim is to limit their penetration into a digital community. We propose two alternative tools to achieve this goal. One is graph conductance, which works under the assumption that honest people are averse to corrupt ones and tend to distrust them. The second is vertex expansion, which relies on the assumption that there are not too many corrupt identities in the community. Of particular interest is keeping the fraction of byzantines below one third, as it would allow the use of Byzantine Agreement (Lamport et al., 1982) for consensus as well as for sybil-resilient social choice (Shahaf et al., 2019). This paper considers incrementally growing a trust graph and shows that, under its key assumptions and additional requirements, including keeping the conductance or vertex expansion of the community trust graph sufficiently high, a community may grow safely, indefinitely.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2215-2227
Number of pages13
JournalIEEE/ACM Transactions on Networking
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1 Oct 2021


  • Network theory (graphs)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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