This Week in Blockchain Research Issue #27

Issue #27

Issue #27

Paper of the Week:

Paper Title: Barracuda: The Power of l-polling in Proof-of-Stake Blockchains.


  1. Forking occurs in almost all major blockchains, and it implies that blockchains are often not chains at all, but blocktrees. For many consensus protocols (particularly chain-based ones like Bitcoin’s), forking reduces throughput, because blocks that are not on the main chain are discarded.

  2. It also has security implications; even protocols that achieve good block throughput in the high-forking regime have thus far been prone to security vulnerabilities.

  3. There are two common approaches to mitigate forking: (i) improve the network itself, e.g. by upgrading hardware and routing and (ii) design consensus algorithms that tolerate network latency by making use of forked branches.

  4. This work design a P2P protocol that effectively reduces forking for a wide class of existing consensus algorithms through an l-polling as a technique.

  5. First, a new probabilistic model for the evolution of a blockchain in proof-of-stake cryptocurrencies is proposed, where the main source of randomness comes from the network delay.

  6. Next, a new block proposal algorithm called l-Barracuda, under which nodes poll l randomly-selected nodes for their local blocktree information before proposing a new block. It is shown that for small values of l, Barracuda has approximately the same effect as if the entire network were a factor of l faster.

  7. Finally, this paper provide guidelines on how to implement Barracuda in practice in order to provide robustness against several real-world factors, such as network model mismatch and adver- sarial behavior.

AuthorsGiulia Fanti*, Jiantao Jiao†, Ashok Makkuva‡, Sewoong Oh‡, Ranvir Rana‡, and Pramod Viswanath‡,

Affiliations: * Carnegie Mellon University, † University of California, Berkeley, and ‡ University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.


1. Paper Title: ABC: Asynchronous Blockchain without Consensus.

Summary: An asynchronous blockchain design that features an array of advantages by not relying on establishing consensus in the first place.

AuthorsJakub Sliwinski* and Roger Wattenhofer*,

Affiliations: * ETH Zurich.


No papers.


1. Paper Title: Techniques and Applications for Crawling, Ingesting and Analyzing Blockchain Data.

Summary: A system that is capable of crawling the blockchain in order to extract data and to cross correlate the Smart Contract interfaces with the code in order to reconstruct the metadata correctly.

Authors: Evan Brinckman*, Andrey Kuehlkamp*, Jarek Nabrzyski*, and Ian J. Taylor*†,

Affiliations: * University of Notre Dame and † Cardiff University.


No papers.

Consensus Protocols:

1. Paper Title: OCEAN: A Built-In Replacement for Mining Pools.

Summary: This work suggests that miners, instead of presenting near hashes to a mining pool will present them to the blockchain itself while incorporating SNARK proofs to avoid flooding the blockchain.

Authors: Raymond Chee*, Kartik Chitturi*, Edouard Dufour-Sans*, and Kyle Soska*,

Affiliations* Carnegie Mellon University.


1. Paper Title: FinTech, BigTech, and the Future of Banks.

Summary: To understand how FinTech and BigTech can threaten banks, it is important to understand whether there is something unique about banks that makes it hard for them to be challenged by non-banks.

AuthorsRené M. Stulz*,

Affiliations: * Ohio State University.

2. Paper Title: The Tokenization of Assets: Using Blockchains for Equity Crowdfunding.

Summary: The tokenization of crowdfunded equity shares as a possible approach to improve access to capital for startups.

AuthorsJakob Roth, Fabian Schär*, and Aljoscha Schöpfer,

Affiliations: * University of Basel.

3. Paper Title: An Industry Study of Blockchain Technology’s Impact on Trade Finance.

Summary: A study that marks a first step in the exploration of the important and dynamic field of blockchain-based innovation for supply chain and trade finance, and paves the way for future research into stakeholders’ expectations, as well as the resulting behaviors and investment patterns that can be expected.

AuthorsDaniel P. Hellwig* and Arnd Huchzermeier*,

Affiliations: * WHU – Otto Beisheim School of Management.



“Significant research in the blockchain space is constantly being achieved by academic researchers. Unfortunately, a lot of this research is overlooked due to the massive numbers of papers being generated and the way they are being promoted and published. We’ve put together a categorized list of academic papers that can guide our subscribers and keep them up to date.”

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