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Impact of geo-distribution and mining pools on blockchains: a study of Ethereum

This is the companion page for the paper Impact of geo-distribution and mining pools on blockchains: a study of Ethereum published in DSN’2020 - 2020 IEEE/IFIP International Conference on Dependable Systems and Networks. Check the abstract below for a quick overview of the paper.

Abstract

Given the large adoption and economical impact of permissionless blockchains, the complexity of the underlying systems and the adversarial environment in which they operate, it is fundamental to properly study and understand the emergent behavior and properties of these systems. We describe our experience on a detailed, one-month study of the Ethereum network from several geographically dispersed observation points. We leverage multiple geographic vantage points to assess the key pillars of Ethereum, namely geographical dispersion, network efficiency, blockchain efficiency and security, and the impact of mining pools. Among other new findings, we identify previously undocumented forms of selfish behavior and show that the prevalence of powerful mining pools exacerbates the geographical impact on block propagation delays. Furthermore, we provide a set of open measurement and processing tools, as well as the data set of the collected measurements, in order to promote further research on understanding permissionless blockchains.

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