You Shall Not Join: A Measurement Study of Cryptocurrency Peer-to-Peer Bootstrapping Techniques. / Loe, Angelique; Quaglia, Elizabeth.

Proceedings of ACM CCS '19. 2019.

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Cryptocurrencies are digital assets which depend upon the use of
distributed peer-to-peer networks. The method a new peer uses
to initially join a peer-to-peer network is known as bootstrapping.
The ability to bootstrap without the use of a centralized resource is
an unresolved challenge. In this paper we survey the bootstrapping
techniques used by 74 cryptocurrencies and find that censorship-
prone methods such as DNS seeding and IP hard-coding are the
most prevalent. In response to this finding, we test two other boot-
strapping techniques less susceptible to censorship, Tor and ZMap,
to determine if they are operationally feasible alternatives more
resilient to censorship. We perform a global measurement study
of DNS query responses for each of the 92 DNS seeds discovered
across 42 countries using the distributed RIPE Atlas network. This
provides details of each cryptocurrency’s peer-to-peer network
topology and also highlights instances of DNS outages and query
manipulation impacting the bootstrapping process. Our study also
reveals that the source code of the cryptocurrencies researched
comes from only five main repositories; hence accounting for the
inheritance of legacy bootstrapping methods. Finally, we discuss
the implications of our findings and provide recommendations to
mitigate the risks exposed.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of ACM CCS '19
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 23 Jun 2019
This open access research output is licenced under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

ID: 34567009