Professor Aad Van Moorsel

University of Newcastle, UK


Benchmarks and Models for Blockchain: The Incentives Layer

We consider blockchains from a performance engineering perspective, with an emphasis on the incentives layer. The incentives layer in the blockchain software stack refers to the mechanisms, protocols and software architecture associated with fees, costs, and other considerations that either entice or discourage participants. The presentation builds on two earlier keynotes that consider blockchain performance engineering in general and in the consensus layer, respectively.  We start the presentation with an illustration that incentives need to be aligned to ensure the reliable operation of permissionless blockchains.  This forms the motivation behind a list of main topics that require further attention from the research community. We will distinguish two categories of issues at the incentives layer: issues related to the dependable operation of blockchains in general, and issues related to incorporating incentives in novel blockchain applications.  With respect to the first category, we report on an extensive benchmarking study of Ethereum smart contracts, which explores the relation between the rewarded fee and the computational cost.  With respect to the second category, we include an in depth discussion of recent work in game-theoretic economic mechanism design for accountable cloud computing.

Dr Paul Townend

Edgetic, UK