Blockchain-empowered Data-driven Networks: A Survey and Outlook

Xi Li, Zehua Wang, Victor C. M. Leung, Hong Ji, Yiming Liu, Heli Zhang

The paths leading to future networks are pointing towards a data-driven paradigm to better cater to the explosive growth of mobile services as well as the increasing heterogeneity of mobile devices, many of which generate and consume large volumes and variety of data. These paths are also hampered by significant challenges in terms of security, privacy, services provisioning, and network management. Blockchain, which is a technology for building distributed ledgers that provide an immutable log of transactions recorded in a distributed network, has become prominent recently as the underlying technology of cryptocurrencies and is revolutionizing data storage and processing in computer network systems. For future data-driven networks (DDNs), blockchain is considered as a promising solution to enable the secure storage, sharing, and analytics of data, privacy protection for users, robust, trustworthy network control, and decentralized routing and resource managements. However, many important challenges and open issues remain to be addressed before blockchain can be deployed widely to enable future DDNs. In this article, we present a survey on the existing research works on the application of blockchain technologies in computer networks, and identify challenges and potential solutions in the applications of blockchains in future DDNs. We identify application scenarios in which future blockchain-empowered DDNs could improve the efficiency and security, and generally the effectiveness of network services.

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