Measuring node decentralisation in blockchain peer to peer networks

Howell, Andrew
Saber, Takfarinas
Bendechach, Malika
Howell, Andrew, Saber, Takfarinas, & Bendechache, Malika. (2023). Measuring node decentralisation in blockchain peer to peer networks. Blockchain: Research and Applications, 4(1), 100109. doi:
New blockchain platforms are launching at a high cadence, each fighting for attention, adoption, and infrastructure resources. Several studies have measured the peer-to-peer (P2P) network decentralisation of Bitcoin and Ethereum (i.e., two of the largest used platforms). However, with the increasing demand for blockchain infrastructure, it is important to study node decentralisation across multiple blockchain networks, especially those containing a small number of nodes. In this paper, we propose NodeMaps, a data processing framework to capture, analyse, and visualise data from several popular P2P blockchain platforms, such as Cosmos, Stellar, Bitcoin, and Lightning Network. We compare and contrast the geographic distribution, the hosting provider diversity, and the software client variance in each of these platforms. Through our comparative analysis of node data, we found that Bitcoin and its Lightning Network Layer 2 protocol are widely decentralised P2P blockchain platforms, with the largest geographical reach and a high proportion of nodes operating on The Onion Router (TOR) privacy-focused network. Cosmos and Stellar blockchains have reduced node participation, with nodes predominantly operating in large cloud providers or well-known data centres.
Publisher DOI
Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)