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Consensus, in the context of blockchains, refers to the process and mechanisms by which nodes agree on a specific blockchain state, including the inclusion and ordering of transactions. Different mechanisms use different economic and communication standards to ensure that a required quorum is met in a way that is fault-tolerant and corruption resistant.

Distributed processes unrelated to consensus over blockchain state are sometimes designed with comparable rigor to blockchain consensus processes and can involve analogous mechanisms for aligning participant behaviors with the desired outcome. Oracle, reputation, oversight, adjudicatory, or governance processes used to reach distributed consensus on truth, quality, intent, correctness, and desire are also occasionally referred to as a project's consensus mechanism, with the accompanying arguments that the system will behave as designed or not be subject to certain attacks.