Title: Traversing Bitcoin's P2P network: insights into the structure of a decentralised currency

Authors: Sebastian Feld; Mirco Schönfeld; Martin Werner

Addresses: Mobile and Distributed Systems Group, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, Munich, Germany ' Mobile and Distributed Systems Group, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, Munich, Germany ' Mobile and Distributed Systems Group, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, Munich, Germany

Abstract: Lots of existing work addresses the analysis of Bitcoin's publicly available transaction graph. There are evaluations of the user's anonymity and privacy, but no proper measurements of the underlying network. This paper presents novel insights about Bitcoin's P2P network, with a focus on the distribution among autonomous systems. The resilience of Bitcoin's ecosystem, the unambiguousness of the blockchain, the propagation and verification of transaction blocks, but also the anonymity of Bitcoin's users depend on the structure of the global network. Our work is the first thorough analysis of Bitcoin's underlying network, especially with regard to its distribution at autonomous system level. We traversed Bitcoin's network and made statements about the size of the accessible network and the number of clients. Further, we investigated the network's distribution on autonomous systems. Finally, we analysed the mechanism to announce known peers. It turns out that Bitcoin's peer announcement is not well-distributed, affecting information propagation.

Keywords: peer-to-peer networks; P2P networks; Bitcoin; autonomous systems; electronic cash; e-cash; digital currency; privacy; k-anonymity; resilience; information propagation; decentralised currencies; peer announcement.

DOI: 10.1504/IJCSE.2016.078441

International Journal of Computational Science and Engineering, 2016 Vol.13 No.2, pp.122 - 131

Available online: 02 Aug 2016 *

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