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Our experience with running a production network on Namecoin, one of the oldest and largest cryptocurrency blockchains other than Bitcoin, shows how a single miner consistently had more than 51% hashing power and how network reliability was far inferior to Bitcoin

Blockstack: A Global Naming and Storage System Secured by Blockchains.

USENIX Annual Technical Conference, pp.181-194, (2016)

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摘要

Blockchains like Bitcoin and Namecoin and their respective P2P networks have seen significant adoption in the past few years and show promise as naming systems with no trusted parties. Users can register human meaningful names and securely associate data with them, and only the owner of the particular private keys that registered them can...更多

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简介
  • Cryptocurrency blockchains and their respective P2P networks are useful beyond exchanging money
  • They provide cryptographically auditable, append-only ledgers that are already being used to build new, decentralized versions of DNS [41] and public-key infrastructure (PKI) [43], along with other applications like file storage [23] and document timestamping [15].
  • Nodes participating in a blockchain network follow a leader election protocol for deciding which node gets to write the block and collect the respective transaction fees.
  • See [14] for further details on how blockchains work and how they reach consensus
重点内容
  • Cryptocurrency blockchains and their respective P2P networks are useful beyond exchanging money
  • We describe our experiences operating a large deployment of a decentralized public-key infrastructure service built on top of the Namecoin blockchain
  • Blockstack is released as open source software and currently powers a production public-key infrastructure system for 55,000 users
  • Nodes participating in a blockchain network follow a leader election protocol for deciding which node gets to write the block and collect the respective transaction fees
  • Our experience with running a production network on Namecoin, one of the oldest and largest cryptocurrency blockchains other than Bitcoin, shows how a single miner consistently had more than 51% hashing power and how network reliability was far inferior to Bitcoin
  • We have presented Blockstack, a blockchain-based naming and storage system
方法
  • Design of Blockstack

    Blockstack is designed to implement a naming system with human-readable names in a layer above the blockchain.
  • Building systems with blockchains presents challenges: Limits on Data Storage: Individual blockchain records are typically on the order of kilobytes [49] and cannot hold much data.
  • Slow Writes: The transaction processing rate is capped by the blockchain’s write propagation and leader election protocol, and it is pegged to the rate at which new blocks are announced by leader nodes, called miners in many blockchain networks [14].
  • New transactions can take several minutes to a few hours to be accepted
结果
  • The authors discovered a critical security problem where a single miner consistently had more than 51% of the total compute power on the Namecoin network.
  • The authors noticed in late 2014 that a single mining pool consistently had more than 51% of the compute power on Namecoin.
  • The authors' experience with running a production network on Namecoin, one of the oldest and largest cryptocurrency blockchains other than Bitcoin, shows how a single miner consistently had more than 51% hashing power and how network reliability was far inferior to Bitcoin
结论
  • The authors' experience with running a production network on Namecoin, one of the oldest and largest cryptocurrency blockchains other than Bitcoin, shows how a single miner consistently had more than 51% hashing power and how network reliability was far inferior to Bitcoin.
  • The authors have presented Blockstack, a blockchain-based naming and storage system.
  • Blockstack introduces separate control and data planes, and by doing so, it enables the introduction of new functionality without modifying the underlying blockchain.
  • The design of Blockstack was informed by a year of production experience from one of the largest blockchain-based production systems to date.
  • The authors' performance results show that Blockstack can give comparable performance to the underlying storage service and only introduces a small CPU overhead.
  • The authors have released Blockstack as open-source [13]
相关工作
  • Binding names to values in naming systems is a wellexplored problem space. UIA [24] gives a great overview of global naming systems and their importance. We encourage the reader to UIA [24] for a detailed background on naming systems. Unlike Namecoin [41] or Blockstack, UIA doesn’t try to provide globally unique names. In authentication systems like InCommon [27], OpenID [47], and the Web’s certificate authorities, a federation of authorities attests to bindings. Blockstack, however, does not require a federation.
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