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A Lightweight Scalable Blockchain for the Internet of Things

Professor Salil Kanhere, UNSW Sydney, Australia


In recent years, BlockChain (BC) has attracted tremendous attention due to its salient features including auditability, immutability, security, and privacy. BC has the potential to overcome the scalability, security and privacy challenges of Internet of Things (IoT). However, BC is computationally expensive, has limited scalability and incurs significant bandwidth overheads and delays which are not suited for most IoT applications. In this talk, we propose a Lightweight Scalable BC (LSB) that is optimized for IoT requirements while also providing end-to-end privacy and security.

Our BC instantiation achieves decentralization by forming an overlay network where high resource devices jointly manage the BC. The overlay is organized as distinct clusters to reduce overheads and the cluster heads are responsible for managing the public BC. We propose a Distributed Time-based Consensus algorithm (DTC) which reduces the mining processing overhead and delay.

A distributed trust approach is employed by the cluster heads to progressively reduce the processing overhead for verifying new blocks. LSB incorporates a Distributed Throughput Management (DTM) algorithm which ensures that the BC throughput does not significantly deviate from the cumulative transaction load in the network. We explore our approach in a smart home setting as a representative example for broader IoT applications. Qualitative arguments demonstrate that our approach is resilient to several security attacks. Extensive simulations show that packet overhead and delay are decreased and BC scalability is increased compared to relevant baselines.


Salil Kanhere received his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees, both in Electrical Engineering from Drexel University, Philadelphia. He is currently an Associate Professor in the School of Computer Science and Engineering at UNSW Sydney, Australia. He is also a conjoint researcher at Data61 CSIRO, Faculty Associate at Institute of Infocomm Research Singapore and on the advisory board of two technology start-ups.

His current research interests include Internet of Things, pervasive computing, blockchain, crowdsourcing, data analytics, privacy and security. He has published over 180 peer-reviewed articles and delivered over 20 tutorials and keynote talks on these research topics.

His research has been featured on ABC News, Forbes, Wired, ZDNET, MIT Technology Review, IEEE Spectrum and other media outlets. Salil regularly serves on the organizing committee of a number of IEEE and ACM international conferences. He is on the Editorial Board of Elsevier’s Pervasive and Mobile Computing and Computer Communications. Salil is a Senior Member of both the IEEE and the ACM. He was a recipient of the Alexander von Humboldt Research Fellowship.