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On the suitability of blockchain platforms for IoT applications: architectures, security, privacy, and performance

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Blockchain and distributed ledger technologies have received significant interest in various areas beyond the financial sector, with profound applications in the Internet of Things (IoT), providing the means for creating truly trustless and secure solutions for IoT applications. Taking into account the weak security defences that the majority of IoT devices have, it is critical that a blockchain-based solution targeting the IoT is not only capable of addressing the many challenges IoT is facing, but also does not introduce other defects, e.g. in terms of performance, making its adoption hard to achieve. This paper aims at addressing the above needs by providing a comprehensive and coherent review of the available blockchain solutions to determine their ability to meet the requirements and tackle the challenges of the IoT, using the smart home as the reference domain. Key architectural aspects of blockchain solutions, like the platforms’ software and network setups, the consensus protocols used, as well as smart contracts, are examined in terms of their ability to withstand various types of common IoT and blockchain attacks, deliver enhanced privacy features, and assure adequate performance levels while processing large amounts of transactions being generated in an IoT environment. The analysis carried out identified that the defences currently provided by blockchain platforms are not
sufficient to thwart all the prominent attacks against blockchains, with blockchain 1.0 and 2.0 platforms being susceptible to the majority of them. On the other side, privacy related mechanisms are being supported, to varying degrees, by all platforms investigated; however, each of the them tackles
specific only privacy aspects, thus rendering the overall privacy evaluation a challenging task which needs to be considered in an ad-hoc basis. If the underlying consensus protocols’ performance and fault tolerance is also considered, then only a small number of platforms meet the requirements of our
reference IoT domain.
Original languageEnglish
Article number108005
Number of pages29
JournalComputer Networks
Volume191
Early online date19 Mar 2021
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 22 May 2021

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