Author: Zhu Liehuang
Source: Chinese Computer Society
Editor's Note: The original title was "Blockchain Frontier Technology: Performance, Security, and Applications"
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Since Satoshi Nakamoto published the paper "Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System" in 2009, the Bitcoin system and its underlying blockchain Technology has gradually attracted widespread attention worldwide. Blockchain technology has the characteristics of intermediary trust, security and reliability, which not only can play an important role in the financial industry in the form of digital currency, but also has a wide range of application scenarios in many fields such as data sharing and information security. As the advantages of blockchain technology in reducing interaction costs and improving system security are gradually recognized, blockchain technology is gradually shifting from an experimental environment to a commercial scene, which reflects great innovation value. In this context, in October 2019, the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee conducted the eighteenth collective study on the current status and trends of the development of blockchain technology. When leading the study, state leaders emphasized the importance of "independent innovation of blockchain as a core technology." "Breakthrough", "Accelerate the promotion of blockchain technology and industrial innovation and development", and pointed out that the application of blockchain technology has been extended to digital finance, the Internet of Things, intelligent manufacturing, supply chain management, digital asset trading and other fields. With a sound domestic technology foundation, it is imperative to accelerate the industrial innovation of blockchain technology.
Blockchain technology was first applied in the field of digital currencies. As a result of solving the “double spend problem” 1 that traditional digital currencies have not been able to solve, Bitcoin has become the first cryptocurrency to be widely supported worldwide. Subsequently, many digital currencies such as Ethereum and EOS2 continued to appear. As of January 2020, there were more than 5048 types of global cryptocurrencies with a market value of more than US $ 238.6 billion3. These digital currencies have become the first practical blockchain applications, providing an early funding and experimental environment for the development of blockchain technology. However, due to the lack of corresponding supervision technology, digital currencies have been applied by criminals to criminal activities such as money laundering and virus extortion, resulting in the supervision and crackdown of government agencies. In this context, anonymous and anti-anonymous technologies for blockchain transactions have become hot research topics. As the concept of stable coin is gradually promoted, the application range of digital currency is gradually expanding from virtual assets to real assets. Traditional financial institutions, Internet companies, and even central banks of various governments have begun to study blockchain-based stable tokens or digital fiat currencies, hoping to use blockchain technology to solve problems in existing financial systems. The research of blockchain in the field of digital currency is gradually developing towards high-performance, high-scalability, supporting supervision and other trends towards commercialized operation.
As the advantages of blockchain technology in terms of security, cost, and credibility are gradually valued, the application of blockchain technology in non-monetary scenes has developed significantly. In terms of data sharing, using the transparent and redundant storage of the blockchain, trusted data can be shared among a large number of untrusted nodes, and data loss, data tampering, and high data sharing costs in traditional data sharing services can be solved. In terms of logistics traceability, the multi-party cooperation mechanism of the blockchain can be used to transparently and reliably save the multi-party operation processes involved in the logistics business in the public ledger, making effective traceability possible, reducing the chance of malicious nodes to increase evil, and The overall operation level of the logistics chain; in terms of information security, in view of the single point of failure and vulnerability of the traditional Internet architecture, the use of blockchain technology to build a decentralized network has become a new idea to solve the problem of trusted Internet security , Laying a foundation for the establishment of trustworthy and endogenous security attributes for new network architectures such as the Internet and the Internet of Things.
However, the blockchain technology is currently immature, and it still faces many problems such as performance, security, and reliability when it is applied to commercial scenarios. In terms of performance, the traditional public chain system represented by Bitcoin can only trade about 10 transactions per second, which is completely unable to meet the needs of realistic financial services. Even the current alliance chain system designed for business scenarios, after using a large trusted server and reducing the level of decentralization, can only trade a few thousand transactions per second, and trade with traditional financial systems such as Visa and MasterCard There is still a large gap in the performance of Wanbi. In terms of security, although blockchain technology theoretically has a high ability to resist malicious node attacks, in the real world, problems such as blockchain code vulnerabilities, smart contract vulnerabilities, and blockchain key leaks frequently occur. Caused a large number of huge security accidents. Moreover, the blockchain technology uses the ledger disclosure mechanism, although it can improve the credibility of the system, but it brings significant hidden dangers of privacy leakage. A large number of studies have proven that mechanisms such as pseudo-anonymous and one-time accounts used in early blockchain applications such as Bitcoin cannot effectively protect user privacy.
As a new field with revolutionary potential, blockchain is constantly producing a large number of new technologies, and it is practiced and tested in different scenarios. With more investment from researchers, it is believed that the current defects of blockchain technology will be gradually solved, so that blockchain technology will gradually be put into practice and become the core force driving a new round of information revolution.
Aiming at the current cutting-edge technologies and practical applications in the field of blockchain, this special topic invites experts and scholars in related fields from different technical dimensions to discuss the performance, security, and application of blockchain technology.
The article "Application of Blockchain in the Military Field" written by Fudan University Professor Si Xueming discusses the application characteristics and research status of blockchain technology in the military field. The cyber threats currently facing the military are increasingly focused on the manipulation of data by the enemy. Traditional encryption and trust-based network defense strategies have been unable to cope with the challenges brought by the growing network of threats. Blockchain technology can solve the problem of reliably transmitting and recording information in an unreliable network world. By investigating the blockchain technology, we are improving network defense capabilities, enhancing weapon system integrity detection, establishing secure transmission platforms, realizing weapon equipment life-cycle management, improving battlefield information protection capabilities, enhancing military logistics intelligence, optimizing logistics support, and optimizing combat data. The application in the center and other fields summarizes the current application characteristics and constraints of the blockchain technology in the military field, and proposes countermeasures that should be taken.
The article "Blockchain and Federal Learning: Fusion and Complementarity" written by Professor Zhang Yan of Oslo University in Norway and Huang Xiaohong, Professor of Beijing University of Posts and Telecommunications, etc., studies the possibility and potential of the integration and mutual promotion of blockchain technology and federal learning technologies Application value. By analyzing the core characteristics of blockchain technology and federal learning technology, the author explores the complementary advantages of the two technologies from the perspective of blockchain-enabled federal learning and federal learning-enabled blockchain. The architecture of the integration of blockchain and federal learning introduces the operation process and core technical points of the fusion system.
The article "Technical Practice and Thinking of Alliance Chain" written by Zhejiang University professor Cai Liang, etc., aims at the fact that the current public blockchain blockchain cannot meet the requirements of high throughput, low energy consumption, privacy protection, etc., and it is difficult to support large-scale commercial application scenarios Real problems, the research focuses on the alliance chain technology system with higher potential in terms of performance, privacy protection, and permission control. The article introduces the core protocol of the alliance chain in detail, including components such as consensus algorithm, P2P network, smart contract engine and storage engine. It analyzes the specific process of alliance chain network consensus execution and trusted storage. It also delves into the alliance chain to achieve application expansion. Technology expansion layer built with security, high efficiency, friendly and easy to use features, including privacy protection, member management, alliance governance and data management; introduced high performance, high security, high availability, scalability, on-chain and off-chain collaboration Five categories of research hotspots.
A paper entitled "Decentralized Trusted Internet Infrastructure Based on Blockchain" written by Tsinghua University professor Xu Ke, etc., proposed a blockchain technology to solve Internet security in view of the defects of traditional Internet architecture in terms of security and trustworthiness. The idea of the credibility problem introduces in detail the decentralized network infrastructure based on blockchain technology, the trusted identity authentication mechanism based on blockchain technology, and the multi-chain structure that improves the performance of blockchain.
The article "Application of Cryptography in Blockchain Privacy Protection" by Professor He Debiao and PhD student Feng Qi of Wuhan University summarizes the existing privacy protection technologies and the challenges faced by blockchain technology in the application of privacy protection. Future research directions. By analyzing the characteristics of blockchain technology, the author proposes two privacy protection requirements for blockchain applications, including user identity privacy and transaction data privacy. The article also explores the progress of blockchain privacy protection technology in terms of scalability, security, compatibility, and supervisability.
The article "Blockchain Stable Token: Summary and Prospect" written by Beijing Institute of Technology PhD Gao Feng, associate researcher Gaike Ke, and professor Zhu Liehuang, introduced the research progress of blockchain stable token in-depth. Stable token is a special cryptocurrency based on blockchain technology. It has the core advantages of traditional cryptocurrencies for intermediary trust, security and reliability, and also has the characteristics of being linked to the stability of real assets. Improve the efficiency of fund transfers. At present, Libra, the legal digital currency (DCEP) being studied in China, is a derivative and development of stable tokens. As a blockchain application with great influence, stable tokens will bring major opportunities and challenges to the implementation of blockchain technology and blockchain financial supervision. By comparing the characteristics of fiat currencies, cryptocurrencies and stable tokens, this article analyzes the technical structure and core advantages of stable tokens in depth, and discusses the future development trend of stable token systems.
The above six articles introduced the current research hotspots of blockchain technology from the perspectives of application scenario exploration, performance, and privacy protection, and proposed many new ideas and research directions. I hope to encourage more scholars to participate in the blockchain field. In the research of algorithm design, offensive and defensive confrontation, and application exploration, the implementation and development of blockchain technology are promoted.
1 The double spend problem refers to the phenomenon that a piece of digital cash is repeatedly used in the transaction process.
2 EOS, Enterprise Operation System, is a blockchain operating system designed for commercial distributed applications.
About the author:
Zhu Liehuang: Senior member of CCF, Secretary-General of CCF Blockchain Commission. Professor of Beijing Institute of Technology. The main research direction is blockchain technology and network information security.