Properties of Decentralized Consensus Technology -- Why not every Blockchain is a Blockchain

by   Christopher Ehmke, et al.

Research in the field of blockchain technology and applications is increasing at a fast pace. Although the Bitcoin whitepaper by Nakamoto is already ten years old, the field can still be seen as immature and at an early stage. Current research in this area is lacking a commonly shared knowledge and consensus about terms used to describe the technology and its properties. At the same time this research is challenging fundamental aspects of the Bitcoin core concept. It has to be questioned whether all of these new approaches still adequately could be described as blockchain technology. We propose to use the term Decentralized Consensus Technology as a general category instead. Decentralized Consensus Technology consists of decentralized ledger and non-ledger technologies. Blockchain technology in turn is only one of multiple implementations of the Decentralized Ledger Technology. Furthermore, we identified three main characteristics of Decentralized Consensus Technology: decentralization, trustlessness and ability to eventually reach consensus. Depending on the use case of the specific implementation the following additional properties have to be considered: privacy, participation incentive, irreversibility and immutability, operation purpose, confirmation time, transaction costs, ability to externalize transactions and computations and scalability possibilities.


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