VFChain: Enabling Verifiable and Auditable Federated Learning via Blockchain Systems

Zhe Peng, Jianliang Xu*, Xiaowen Chu, Shang Gao, Yuan Yao, Rong Gu, Yuzhe Tang

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

87 Citations (Scopus)


Advanced artificial intelligence techniques, such as federated learning, has been applied to broad areas, e.g., image classification, speech recognition, smart city, and healthcare. Despite intensive research on federated learning, existing schemes are vulnerable to attacks and can hardly meet the security requirements for real-world applications. The problem of designing a secure federated learning framework to ensure the correctness of training procedure has not been sufficiently studied and remains open. In this paper, we propose VFChain, a verifiable and auditable federated learning framework based on the blockchain system. First, to provide the verifiability, a committee is selected through the blockchain to collectively aggregate models and record verifiable proofs in the blockchain. Then, to provide the auditability, a novel authenticated data structure is proposed for blockchain to improve the search efficiency of verifiable proofs and support a secure rotation of committee. Finally, to further improve the search efficiency, an optimization scheme is proposed to support multiple-model learning tasks. We implement VFChain and conduct extensive experiments by utilizing the popular deep learning models over the public real-world dataset. The evaluation results demonstrate the effectiveness of our proposed VFChain system.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)173-186
Number of pages14
JournalIEEE Transactions on Network Science and Engineering
Issue number1
Early online date12 Jan 2021
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2022

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Computer Networks and Communications

User-Defined Keywords

  • Blockchain
  • Collaborative work
  • Computational modeling
  • Data models
  • Federated learning
  • Servers
  • Task analysis
  • Training
  • auditable training
  • blockchain
  • model verification


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