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As blockchain technologies and cryptocurrencies increase in popularity, their decentralization poses unique challenges in network partitions. In traditional distributed systems, network partitions are generally a result of bugs or connectivity failures; the typical goal of the system designer is to automatically recover from such issues as seamlessly as possible. Blockchain-based systems, however, rely on purposeful "forks" to roll out protocol changes in a decentralized manner. Not all users may agree with proposed changes, and thus forks can persist, leading to permanent network partitions. In this paper, we closely study the large-scale fork that occurred in Ethereum, a new blockchain technology that allows for both currency transactions and smart contracts. Ethereum is currently the second-most-valuable cryptocurrency, with a market capitalization of over $28B. We explore the consequences of this fork, showing the impact on the two networks and their mining pools, and how the fork lead to unintentional incentives and security vulnerabilities.


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Author image not provided  Lucianna Kiffer

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Publication years2017-2018
Publication count3
Citation Count1
Available for download3
Downloads (6 Weeks)147
Downloads (12 Months)1,949
Downloads (cumulative)2,289
Average downloads per article763.00
Average citations per article0.33
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Author image not provided  Dave Levin

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Publication years2010-2019
Publication count23
Citation Count119
Available for download20
Downloads (6 Weeks)1,140
Downloads (12 Months)4,739
Downloads (cumulative)10,598
Average downloads per article529.90
Average citations per article5.17
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Author image not provided  Alan Mislove

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Publication years2003-2019
Publication count67
Citation Count2,256
Available for download57
Downloads (6 Weeks)1,585
Downloads (12 Months)9,022
Downloads (cumulative)66,058
Average downloads per article1,158.91
Average citations per article33.67
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top of pageREFERENCES

Note: OCR errors may be found in this Reference List extracted from the full text article. ACM has opted to expose the complete List rather than only correct and linked references.

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State trie clearing (invariant-preserving alternative) #161.
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V. Buterin. Ethereum: A next-generation smart contract and decentralized application platform. URL, 2014.
K. Croman, C. Decker, I. Eyal, A. E. Gencer, A. Juels, A. Kosba, A. Miller, P. Saxena, E. Shi, E. G. Sirer, et al. On scaling decentralized blockchains. In International Conference on Financial Cryptography and Data Security, pages 106--125. Springer, 2016.
C. Decker and R. Wattenhofer. Information propagation in the bitcoin network. In International Conference on Peer-to-Peer Computing (P2P), pages 1--10. IEEE, 2013.
Enterprise ethereum alliance.
P. Koshy, D. Koshy, and P. McDaniel. An analysis of anonymity in bitcoin using p2p network traffic. In International Conference on Financial Cryptography and Data Security, pages 469--485. Springer, 2014.
M. Moser. Anonymity of bitcoin transactions: An analysis of mixing services. In Münster Bitcoin Conference (MBC), 2013.
S. Nakamoto. Bitcoin: A peer-to-peer electronic cash system. 2008.
D. Ron and A. Shamir. Quantitative analysis of the full bitcoin transaction graph. In International Conference on Financial Cryptography and Data Security, pages 6--24. Springer, 2013.

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Title HotNets-XVI Proceedings of the 16th ACM Workshop on Hot Topics in Networks table of contents
Pages 94-100
Publication Date2017-11-30 (yyyy-mm-dd)
Funding Source NSF
Sponsors SIGCOMM ACM Special Interest Group on Data Communication
PublisherACM New York, NY, USA ©2017
ISBN: 978-1-4503-5569-8 doi>10.1145/3152434.3152449
Paper Acceptance Rate 28 of 124 submissions, 23%
Overall Acceptance Rate 179 of 803 submissions, 22%
Year Submitted Accepted Rate
Hotnets '10 104 22 21%
HotNets '11 119 24 20%
HotNets-XI 120 23 19%
HotNets-XII 110 26 24%
HotNets-XIII 118 26 22%
HotNets '16 108 30 28%
HotNets-XVI 124 28 23%
Overall 803 179 22%


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top of pageTable of Contents

Proceedings of the 16th ACM Workshop on Hot Topics in Networks
Table of Contents
SESSION: Security, Privacy, and Censorship
DIY Hosting for Online Privacy
Shoumik Palkar, Matei Zaharia
Pages: 1-7
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Web users today rely on centralized services for applications such as email, file transfer and chat. Unfortunately, these services create a significant privacy risk: even with a benevolent provider, a single breach can put millions of users' data at ...
Online Advertising under Internet Censorship
Hira Javaid, Hafiz Kamran Khalil, Zartash Afzal Uzmi, Ihsan Ayyub Qazi
Pages: 8-14
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Online advertising plays a critical role in enabling the free Web by allowing publishers to monetize their services. However, the rise in internet censorship events globally poses an economic threat to the advertising ecosystem. This paper studies this ...
The Case For Secure Delegation
Dmitry Kogan, Henri Stern, Ashley Tolbert, David Mazières, Keith Winstein
Pages: 15-21
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Today's secure stream protocols, SSH and TLS, were designed for end-to-end security and do not include a role for semi-trusted third parties. As a result, users who wish to delegate some of their authority to third parties (e.g., to run SSH clients in ...
Securing Ultra-High-Bandwidth Science DMZ Networks with Coordinated Situational Awareness
Vasudevan Nagendra, Vinod Yegneswaran, Phillip Porras
Pages: 22-28
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The Science DMZ (SDMZ) is a special purpose network infrastructure that is engineered to cater to the ultra-high bandwidth needs of the scientific and high performance computing (HPC) communities. These networks are isolated from stateful security devices ...
SESSION: Wireless
Rethinking Congestion Control for Cellular Networks
Prateesh Goyal, Mohammad Alizadeh, Hari Balakrishnan
Pages: 29-35
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We propose Accel-Brake Control (ABC), a protocol that integrates a simple and deployable signaling scheme at cellular base stations with an endpoint mechanism to respond to these signals. The key idea is for the base station to enable each sender to ...
Programmable Radio Environments for Smart Spaces
Allen Welkie, Longfei Shangguan, Jeremy Gummeson, Wenjun Hu, Kyle Jamieson
Pages: 36-42
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Smart spaces, such as smart homes and smart offices, are common Internet of Things (IoT) scenarios for building automation with networked sensors. In this paper, we suggest a different notion of smart spaces, where the radio environment is programmable ...
Wi-Fly: Widespread Opportunistic Connectivity via Commercial Air Transport
Talal Ahmad, Ranveer Chandra, Ashish Kapoor, Michael Daum, Eric Horvitz
Pages: 43-49
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More than half of the world's population face barriers in accessing the Internet. A recent ITU study estimates that 2.6 billion people cannot afford connectivity and that 3.8 billion do not have access. Recent proposals for providing low-cost connectivity ...
360° Innovations for Panoramic Video Streaming
Xing Liu, Qingyang Xiao, Vijay Gopalakrishnan, Bo Han, Feng Qian, Matteo Varvello
Pages: 50-56
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360-degree videos are becoming increasingly popular on commercial platforms. In this position paper, we propose a holistic research agenda aiming at improving the performance, resource utilization efficiency, and users' quality of experience (QoE) for ...
How will Deep Learning Change Internet Video Delivery?
Hyunho Yeo, Sunghyun Do, Dongsu Han
Pages: 57-64
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SESSION: Refactoring Distributed Applications
Network Stack as a Service in the Cloud
Zhixiong Niu, Hong Xu, Dongsu Han, Peng Cheng, Yongqiang Xiong, Guo Chen, Keith Winstein
Pages: 65-71
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The tenant network stack is implemented inside the virtual machines in today's public cloud. This legacy architecture presents a barrier to protocol stack innovation due to the tight coupling between the network stack and the guest OS. In particular, ...
The Barriers to Overthrowing Internet Feudalism
Tai Liu, Zain Tariq, Jay Chen, Barath Raghavan
Pages: 72-79
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Today's Internet scarcely resembles the mythological image of it as a fundamentally democratic system. Instead, users are at the whims of a small number of providers who control nearly everything about users' experiences on the Internet. In response, ...
SESSION: Measurement
FreeLab: A Free Experimentation Platform
Matteo Varvello, Diego Perino
Pages: 80-86
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As researchers, we are aware of how hard it is to obtain access to vantage points in the Internet. Experimentation platforms are useful tools, but they are also: 1) paid, either via a membership fee or by resource sharing, 2) unreliable, nodes come and ...
Opportunities and Challenges of Ad-based Measurements from the Edge of the Network
Patricia Callejo, Conor Kelton, Narseo Vallina-Rodriguez, Rubén Cuevas, Oliver Gasser, Christian Kreibich, Florian Wohlfart, Ángel Cuevas
Pages: 87-93
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For many years, the research community, practitioners, and regulators have used myriad methods and tools to understand the complex structure and behavior of ISPs from the edge of the network. Unfortunately, the nature of these techniques forces the researcher ...
Stick a fork in it: Analyzing the Ethereum network partition
Lucianna Kiffer, Dave Levin, Alan Mislove
Pages: 94-100
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As blockchain technologies and cryptocurrencies increase in popularity, their decentralization poses unique challenges in network partitions. In traditional distributed systems, network partitions are generally a result of bugs or connectivity failures; ...
SESSION: Congestion Control
The Case for Moving Congestion Control Out of the Datapath
Akshay Narayan, Frank Cangialosi, Prateesh Goyal, Srinivas Narayana, Mohammad Alizadeh, Hari Balakrishnan
Pages: 101-107
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With Moore's law ending, the gap between general-purpose processor speeds and network link rates is widening. This trend has led to new packet-processing "datapaths" in endpoints, including kernel bypass software and emerging SmartNIC hardware. In addition, ...
HotCocoa: Hardware Congestion Control Abstractions
Mina Tahmasbi Arashloo, Monia Ghobadi, Jennifer Rexford, David Walker
Pages: 108-114
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Congestion control in multi-tenant data centers is an active area of research because of its significant impact on customer experience, and, consequently, on revenue. Therefore, new algorithms and protocols are expected to emerge as the Cloud evolves. ...
An Axiomatic Approach to Congestion Control
Doron Zarchy, Radhika Mittal, Michael Schapira, Scott Shenker
Pages: 115-121
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Recent years have witnessed a surge of interest in congestion control. Unfortunately, the overwhelmingly large design space along with the increasingly diverse range of application environments makes evaluating congestion control protocols a daunting ...
Congestion-Control Throwdown
Michael Schapira, Keith Winstein
Pages: 122-128
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Congestion control is a perennial topic of networking research. In making decisions about who sends data when, congestion-control schemes prevent collapses and ultimately determine the allocation of scarce communications resources among contending users ...
SESSION: The Control Plane
Integrating Verification and Repair into the Control Plane
Aaron Gember-Jacobson, Costin Raiciu, Laurent Vanbever
Pages: 129-135
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Network verification has made great progress recently, yet existing solutions are limited in their ability to handle specific protocols or implementation quirks or to diagnose and repair the cause of policy violations. In this positioning paper, we examine ...
Low-Latency Routing on Mesh-Like Backbones
Nikola Gvozdiev, Stefano Vissicchio, Brad Karp, Mark Handley
Pages: 136-142
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Early in in the Internet's history, routing within a single provider's WAN centered on placing traffic on the shortest path. More recent traffic engineering efforts aim to reduce congestion and/or increase utilization within the status quo of greedy ...
Run, Walk, Crawl: Towards Dynamic Link Capacities
Rachee Singh, Monia Ghobadi, Klaus-Tycho Foerster, Mark Filer, Phillipa Gill
Pages: 143-149
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Fiber optic cables are the workhorses of today's Internet services. Operators spend millions of dollars to purchase, lease and maintain their optical backbone, making the efficiency of fiber essential to their business. In this work, we make a case for ...
SESSION: Data Centers
In-Network Computation is a Dumb Idea Whose Time Has Come
Amedeo Sapio, Ibrahim Abdelaziz, Abdulla Aldilaijan, Marco Canini, Panos Kalnis
Pages: 150-156
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Programmable data plane hardware creates new opportunities for infusing intelligence into the network. This raises a fundamental question: what kinds of computation should be delegated to the network? In this paper, we discuss the opportunities and challenges ...
Granular Computing and Network Intensive Applications: Friends or Foes?
Arjun Singhvi, Sujata Banerjee, Yotam Harchol, Aditya Akella, Mark Peek, Pontus Rydin
Pages: 157-163
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Computing/infrastructure as a service continues to evolve with bare metal, virtual machines, containers and now serverless granular computing service offerings. Granular computing enables developers to decompose their applications into smaller logical ...
Tolerating Faults in Disaggregated Datacenters
Amanda Carbonari, Ivan Beschasnikh
Pages: 164-170
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Recent research shows that disaggregated datacenters (DDCs) are practical and that DDC resource modularity will benefit both users and operators. This paper explores the implications of disaggregation on application fault tolerance. We expect that resource ...
Stop Rerouting!: Enabling ShareBackup for Failure Recovery in Data Center Networks
Yiting Xia, Xin Sunny Huang, T. S. Eugene Ng
Pages: 171-177
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This paper introduces sharable backup as a novel solution to failure recovery in data center networks. It allows the entire network to share a small pool of backup devices. This proposal is grounded in three key observations. First, the traditional rerouting-based ...
SESSION: Machine Learning
Harvesting Randomness to Optimize Distributed Systems
Mathias Lecuyer, Joshua Lockerman, Lamont Nelson, Siddhartha Sen, Amit Sharma, Aleksandrs Slivkins
Pages: 178-184
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We view randomization through the lens of statistical machine learning: as a powerful resource for offline optimization. Cloud systems make randomized decisions all the time (e.g., in load balancing), yet this randomness is rarely used for optimization ...
Learning to Route
Asaf Valadarsky, Michael Schapira, Dafna Shahaf, Aviv Tamar
Pages: 185-191
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Recently, much attention has been devoted to the question of whether/when traditional network protocol design, which relies on the application of algorithmic insights by human experts, can be replaced by a data-driven (i.e., machine learning) approach. ...
Biases in Data-Driven Networking, and What to Do About Them
Mihovil Bartulovic, Junchen Jiang, Sivaraman Balakrishnan, Vyas Sekar, Bruno Sinopoli
Pages: 192-198
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Recent efforts highlight the promise of data-driven approaches to optimize network decisions. Many such efforts use trace-driven evaluation; i.e., running offline analysis on network traces to estimate the potential benefits of different policies before ...

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