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Securing the Network

Polkadot assumes that parachains are running as external untrusted clients of the relay chain and that the relay chain only deals with parachains via an interface and does not make assumptions about their internals. For example, internally they may be permissioned or open; if some internal users subvert the parachain, from Polkadot's viewpoint the entire parachain (as a single client entity) is malicious.

The Polkadot relay chain is designed to deal with a level of malicious behaviour internally, as a requirement of being an open decentralised network. Specific individual nodes are untrusted, but an indeterminable subset of nodes lower-bounded in size are trusted, and the protocol works to ensure that the relay chain externally as a whole is trustable.

Polkadot does not have any security assumption on block production mechanism for parachains. The security of Polkadot does not depend on any precise honest fraction of collators but it requires existence of some honest collators.

Parts of the protocol assume that every parachain has at least one reachable honest member; where this is not feasible or not realistic, we do not follow through on this assumption and instead have additional checks against a totally-malicious membership.

Block Availability and Validity

Parachain Block Data Availability

Blockchain Data Availability through Erasure Coding

Shared Security - Ethereum vs Polkadot vs Cosmos