Microchain: A Hybrid Consensus Mechanism for Lightweight Distributed Ledger for IoT

by   Ronghua Xu, et al.
Binghamton University
United States Air Force

A blockchain and smart contract enabled security mechanism for IoT applications has been reported recently for urban, financial, and network services. However, due to the power-intensive and a low-throughput consensus mechanism in existing blockchain, like Bitcoin and Ethereum, there are still challenges in integrating blockchain technology into resource-constrained IoT platforms. In this paper, Microchain, based on a hybrid Proof-of-Credit (PoC)-Voting-based Chain Finality (VCF) consensus protocol, is proposed to provide a secure, scalable and lightweight distributed ledger for IoT systems. By using a bias-resistant randomness protocol and a cryptographic sortition algorithm, a random subset of nodes are selected as a final committee to perform the consensus protocol. The hybrid consensus mechanism relies on PoC, a pure Proof of stake (PoS) protocol, to determine whether or not a participant is qualified to propose a block, given a fair initial distribution of the credit assignment. The voting-based chain finality protocol is responsible for finalizing a history of blocks by resolving conflicting checkpoint and selecting a unique chain. A proof-of-conception prototype is implemented and tested on a physical network environment. The experimental results verify that the Micorchain is able to offer a partially decentralized, scalable and lightweight distributed ledger protocol for IoT applications.


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