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Blockchain consensus algorithms: a survey

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Title: Blockchain consensus algorithms: a survey
Authors: Ferdous, MS
Chowdhury, MJM
Hoque, MA
Colman, A
Item Type: Working Paper
Abstract: In recent years, blockchain technology has received unparalleled attention from academia, industry, and governments all around the world. It is considered a technological breakthrough anticipated to disrupt several application domains. This has resulted in a plethora of blockchain systems for various purposes. However, many of these blockchain systems suffer from serious shortcomings related to their performance and security, which need to be addressed before any wide-scale adoption can be achieved. A crucial component of any blockchain system is its underlying consensus algorithm, which in many ways, determines its performance and security. Therefore, to address the limitations of different blockchain systems, several existing as well novel consensus algorithms have been introduced. A systematic analysis of these algorithms will help to understand how and why any particular blockchain performs the way it functions. However, the existing studies of consensus algorithms are not comprehensive. Those studies have incomplete discussions on the properties of the algorithms and fail to analyse several major blockchain consensus algorithms in terms of their scopes. This article fills this gap by analysing a wide range of consensus algorithms using a comprehensive taxonomy of properties and by examining the implications of different issues still prevalent in consensus algorithms in detail. The result of the analysis is presented in tabular formats, which provides a visual illustration of these algorithms in a meaningful way. We have also analysed more than hundred top crypto-currencies belonging to different categories of consensus algorithms to understand their properties and to implicate different trends in these crypto-currencies. Finally, we have presented a decision tree of algorithms to be used as a tool to test the suitability of consensus algorithms under different criteria.
Issue Date: 7-Feb-2020
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10044/1/77539
Publisher: arXiv
Copyright Statement: © 2020 The Author(s)
Keywords: cs.DC
Publication Status: Published
Appears in Collections:Imperial College Business School