ReviewChain: Untampered Product Reviews on the Blockchain

Daniel Martens, Walid Maalej

Online portals include an increasing amount of user feedback in form of ratings and reviews. Recent research highlighted the importance of this feedback and confirmed that positive feedback improves product sales figures and thus its success. However, online portals' operators act as central authorities throughout the overall review process. In the worst case, operators can exclude users from submitting reviews, modify existing reviews, and introduce fake reviews by fictional consumers. This paper presents ReviewChain, a decentralized review approach. Our approach avoids central authorities by using blockchain technologies, decentralized apps and storage. Thereby, we enable users to submit and retrieve untampered reviews. We highlight the implementation challenges encountered when realizing our approach on the public Ethereum blockchain. For each implementation challange, we discuss possible design alternatives and their trade-offs regarding costs, security, and trustworthiness. Finally, we analyze which design decision should be chosen to support specific trade-offs and present resulting combinations of decentralized blockchain technologies, also with conventional centralized technologies.

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