Survey on Blockchain Networking: Context, State-of-the-Art, Challenges

Maya Dotan, Yvonne Anne Pignolet, Stefan Schmid, Saar Tochner, Aviv Zohar

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations

Abstract

Blockchains, in general, and cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, in particular, are realized using distributed systems and hence critically rely on the performance and security of the interconnecting network. The requirements on these networks and their usage, however, can differ significantly from traditional communication networks, with implications on all layers of the protocol stack. This article is motivated by these differences and, in particular, by the observation that many fundamental design aspects of these networks are not well-understood today. To support the networking community to contribute to this emerging application domain, we present a structured overview of the field, from topology and neighbor discovery, over block and transaction propagation, to sharding and off-chain networks, also reviewing existing empirical results from different measurement studies. In particular, for each of these domains, we provide the context, highlighting differences and commonalities with traditional networks, review the state-of-the-art, and identify open research challenges. Our article can hence also be seen as a call-to-arms to improve the foundation on top of which blockchains are built.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number107
Pages (from-to)1-34
Number of pages34
JournalACM Computing Surveys
Volume54
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - 25 May 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 ACM.

Keywords

  • Blockchains
  • distributed computing
  • payment networks

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