Special Issue "New Trends in Blockchain Technology"

A special issue of Applied Sciences (ISSN 2076-3417). This special issue belongs to the section "Computing and Artificial Intelligence".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (15 November 2021) | Viewed by 15290

Special Issue Editor

Prof. Dr. Heung-No Lee
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, Gwangju Institute of Science and Technology, Gwangju 61005, Korea
Interests: machine learning; deep learning; artificial intelligence; big data analytics; cyber-physical systems; 5G networks; healthcare big data
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Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

With the mention of ‘blockchain’, words such as decentralization and a single digital open market come up. Citizens of the world can come together and develop new relations on this digital platform free from the control of central authorities.

I would like to cordially invite blockchain researchers, software developers, and entrepreneurs to come together and discuss the issues imminent in this topic, with the results of such discussions to be published in this Special Issue. This mix of technology and professionals from diverse backgrounds in a single issue in Applied Sciences will be of tremendous value to the vision of a single digital open market.

There are two focus areas in this issue, i.e., blockchain technology and applications. Works aiming to address either of the two are welcome, and consolidated works touching upon both shall be greatly appreciated.

Topics may include but are not limited to:

  • Smart contracts, Dapps, scaling, and multilayer solutions;
  • Decentralized Artificial Intelligence and new Proof-of-X solution;
  • Security issues and testing in blockchains;
  • Blockchain-oriented software engineering blockchain technologies;
  • Blockchain systems for digital IDs, My Data and general data protection regulation;
  • Blockchain applications in healthcare and military systems;
  • Blockchain and the Internet of things. Decentralized applications in smart cities, energy, logistics, and so on.

Prof. Dr. Heung-No Lee
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

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Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2300 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Blockchain
  • Smart Contracts
  • Dapps
  • Distributed Ledger Technology
  • Decentralized applications

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Published Papers (12 papers)

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Editorial

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Editorial
New Trends in Blockchain Technology
Appl. Sci. 2022, 12(7), 3212; https://doi.org/10.3390/app12073212 - 22 Mar 2022
Viewed by 421
Abstract
When someone mentions the word blockchain, we find ourselves thinking of words such as decentralization and smart contracts [...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Trends in Blockchain Technology)

Research

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Article
A Novel Secure Blockchain Framework for Accessing Electronic Health Records Using Multiple Certificate Authority
Appl. Sci. 2021, 11(21), 9999; https://doi.org/10.3390/app11219999 - 26 Oct 2021
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 842
Abstract
Blockchain is a promising technology in the context of digital healthcare systems, but there are issues related to the control of accessing the electronic health records. In this paper, we propose a novel framework based on blockchain and multiple certificate authority that implement [...] Read more.
Blockchain is a promising technology in the context of digital healthcare systems, but there are issues related to the control of accessing the electronic health records. In this paper, we propose a novel framework based on blockchain and multiple certificate authority that implement smart contracts and access health records securely. Our proposed solution provides the facilities of flexible policies to update a record or invoke the policy such that a patient has complete authority. A novel approach towards multiple certificate’s authority (CA) is introduced in the design through our proposed framework. Our proposed policies and methods overcome the shortcoming and security breaches faced by single certificate authority. Our proposed scheme provides a flexible access control mechanism for securing electronic health records as compared to the existing benchmark models. Moreover, our proposed method provides a re-enrolment facility in the case of a user lost enrolment. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Trends in Blockchain Technology)
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Article
Design of Supply Chain System Based on Blockchain Technology
Appl. Sci. 2021, 11(20), 9744; https://doi.org/10.3390/app11209744 - 19 Oct 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 605
Abstract
As the interaction between companies becomes more and more complex, the problems of asymmetric information, weak traceability, and low collaboration efficiency in the traditional centralized supply chain are becoming increasingly prominent. To solve these problems, this paper designs a supply chain system based [...] Read more.
As the interaction between companies becomes more and more complex, the problems of asymmetric information, weak traceability, and low collaboration efficiency in the traditional centralized supply chain are becoming increasingly prominent. To solve these problems, this paper designs a supply chain system based on blockchain. With the help of trade chain and information chain platforms, an overall framework of the supply chain system is constructed. By formulating platform interaction rules, the system information exchange format is standardized to ensure the stability and efficiency of system interaction. Smart contracts are used to manage supply chain system transactions and information interactions to achieve efficient and convenient information sharing, ensuring the security and reliability of supply chain information. The comprehensive performance of the system is evaluated through experiments. Experimental results indicate that while the system realizes the basic functions of the supply chain, it can promote the sharing of information between participants and improve its efficiency. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Trends in Blockchain Technology)
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Article
Blockchain-Based Information Management for Supply Chain Data-Platforms
Appl. Sci. 2021, 11(17), 8161; https://doi.org/10.3390/app11178161 - 02 Sep 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 893
Abstract
Performance measurement and information management are vital assets for supply chain management. In this study, we analyzed the effective combination between blockchain technologies and supply chain management processes. We conducted eighteen interviews with international experts from different areas and analyzed the collected data [...] Read more.
Performance measurement and information management are vital assets for supply chain management. In this study, we analyzed the effective combination between blockchain technologies and supply chain management processes. We conducted eighteen interviews with international experts from different areas and analyzed the collected data following a grounded theory approach. We have identified five main categories in this area including accounting and administration, trust, data platform, interoperability, and disintermediation. The main findings concluded with a set of seven statements as key elements to summarize how blockchain-based supply chains fit in with supplier relationship management processes and financial business units for international trade. The seven statements also recommend future research activities and trajectories. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Trends in Blockchain Technology)
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Article
Automated Payment and Contract Management in the Construction Industry by Integrating Building Information Modeling and Blockchain-Based Smart Contracts
Appl. Sci. 2021, 11(16), 7653; https://doi.org/10.3390/app11167653 - 20 Aug 2021
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 1747
Abstract
Construction projects usually involve signing various contracts with specific billing procedures. In practice, dealing with complex contract structures causes significant problems, especially with regard to timely payment and guaranteed cash flow. Furthermore, a lack of transparency leads to a loss of trust. As [...] Read more.
Construction projects usually involve signing various contracts with specific billing procedures. In practice, dealing with complex contract structures causes significant problems, especially with regard to timely payment and guaranteed cash flow. Furthermore, a lack of transparency leads to a loss of trust. As a result, late or non-payment is a common problem in the construction industry. This paper presents the concept of implementing smart contracts for automated, transparent, and traceable payment processing for construction projects. Automated billing is achieved by combining Building Information Modeling (BIM) approaches with blockchain-based smart contracts. Thereby, parts of traditional construction contracts are transferred to a smart contract. The smart contract is set up using digital BIM-based tender documents and contains all of the relevant data for financial transactions. Once the contracted construction work has been accepted by the client, payments can be made automatically via authorized financial institutions. This paper describes the framework, referred to as BIMcontracts, the container-based data exchange, and the digital contract management workflow. It discusses the industry-specific requirements for blockchain and data storage and explains which technical and software architectural decisions were made. A case study is used to demonstrate the current implementation of the concept. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Trends in Blockchain Technology)
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Article
Security of Blockchain-Based Supply Chain Management Systems: Challenges and Opportunities
Appl. Sci. 2021, 11(12), 5585; https://doi.org/10.3390/app11125585 - 17 Jun 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1235
Abstract
Blockchain is a revolutionary technology that is being used in many applications, including supply chain management. Although, the primary motive of using a blockchain for supply chain management is to reduce the overall production cost while providing the comprehensive security to the system. [...] Read more.
Blockchain is a revolutionary technology that is being used in many applications, including supply chain management. Although, the primary motive of using a blockchain for supply chain management is to reduce the overall production cost while providing the comprehensive security to the system. However, current blockchain-based supply-chain management (BC-SCM) systems still hold the possibility of cyber attacks. Therefore, the goal of this study is to investigate practical threats and vulnerabilities in the design of BC-SCM systems. As a starting point, we first establish key requirements for the reliability and security of supply chain management systems, i.e., transparency, privacy and traceability, and then discern a threat model that includes two distinctive but practical threats including computational (i.e., the ones that threaten the functionality of the application) and communication (i.e., the ones that threaten information exchange among interconnected services of the application). For investigation, we follow a unique approach based on the hypothesis that reliability is pre-requisite of security and identify the threats considering (i) design of smart contracts and associated supply chain management applications, (ii) underlying blockchain execution environment and (iii) trust between all interconnected supply management services. Moreover, we consider both academic and industry solutions to identify the threats. We identify several challenges that hinder to establish reliability and security of the BC-SCM systems. Importantly, we also highlight research gaps that can help to establish desired security of the BC-SCM. To the best of our knowledge, this paper is the first effort that identifies practical threats to blockchain-based supply chain management systems and provides their counter measures. Finally, this work establishes foundation for future investigation towards practical security of BC-SCM system. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Trends in Blockchain Technology)
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Article
Research on Blockchain-Based E-Bidding System
Appl. Sci. 2021, 11(9), 4011; https://doi.org/10.3390/app11094011 - 28 Apr 2021
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 918
Abstract
In the field of modern bidding, electronic bidding leads a new trend of development, convenience and efficiency and other significant advantages effectively promote the reform and innovation of China’s bidding field. Nowadays, most systems require a strong and trusted third party to guarantee [...] Read more.
In the field of modern bidding, electronic bidding leads a new trend of development, convenience and efficiency and other significant advantages effectively promote the reform and innovation of China’s bidding field. Nowadays, most systems require a strong and trusted third party to guarantee the integrity and security of the system. However, with the development of blockchain technology and the rise of privacy protection, researchers has begun to emphasize the core concept of decentralization. This paper introduces a decentralized electronic bidding system based on blockchain and smart contract. The system uses blockchain to replace the traditional database and uses chaincode to process business logic. In data interaction, encryption techniques such as zero-knowledge proof based on graph isomorphism are used to improve privacy protection, which improves the anonymity of participants, the privacy of data transmission, and the traceability and verifiable of data. Compared with other electronic bidding systems, this system is more secure and efficient, and has the nature of anonymous operation, which fully protects the privacy information in the bidding process. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Trends in Blockchain Technology)
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Article
QiOi: Performance Isolation for Hyperledger Fabric
Appl. Sci. 2021, 11(9), 3870; https://doi.org/10.3390/app11093870 - 25 Apr 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 872
Abstract
This paper investigates the performance interference of blockchain services that run on cloud data centers. As the data centers offer shared computing resources to multiple services, the blockchain services can experience performance interference due to the co-located services. We explore the impact of [...] Read more.
This paper investigates the performance interference of blockchain services that run on cloud data centers. As the data centers offer shared computing resources to multiple services, the blockchain services can experience performance interference due to the co-located services. We explore the impact of the interference on Fabric performance and develop a new technique to offer performance isolation for Hyperledger Fabric, the most popular blockchain platform. First, we analyze the characteristics of the different components in Hyperledger Fabric and show that Fabric components have different impacts on the performance of Fabric. Then, we present QiOi, component-level performance isolation technique for Hyperledger Fabric. The key idea of QiOi is to dynamically control the CPU scheduling of Fabric components to cope with the performance interference. We implement QiOi as a user-level daemon and evaluate how QiOi mitigates the performance interference of Fabric. The evaluation results demonstrate that QiOi mitigates performance degradation of Fabric by 22% and improves Fabric latency by 2.5 times without sacrificing the performance of co-located services. In addition, we show that QiOi can support different ordering services and chaincodes with negligible overhead to Fabric performance. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Trends in Blockchain Technology)
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Article
Profitable Double-Spending Attacks
Appl. Sci. 2020, 10(23), 8477; https://doi.org/10.3390/app10238477 - 27 Nov 2020
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1017
Abstract
Our aim in this paper is to investigate the profitability of double-spending (DS) attacks that manipulate an a priori mined transaction in a blockchain. It was well understood that a successful DS attack is established when the proportion of computing power an attacker [...] Read more.
Our aim in this paper is to investigate the profitability of double-spending (DS) attacks that manipulate an a priori mined transaction in a blockchain. It was well understood that a successful DS attack is established when the proportion of computing power an attacker possesses is higher than that of the honest network. What is not yet well understood is how threatening a DS attack with less than 50% computing power used can be. Namely, DS attacks at any proportion can be a threat as long as the chance to make a good profit exists. Profit is obtained when the revenue from making a successful DS attack is greater than the cost of carrying out one. We have developed a novel probability theory for calculating a finitetime attack probability. This can be used to size up attack resources needed to obtain the profit. The results enable us to derive a sufficient and necessary condition on the value of a transaction targeted by a DS attack. Our result is quite surprising: we theoretically show how a DS attack at any proportion of computing power can be made profitable. Given one’s transaction value, the results can also be used to assess the risk of a DS attack. An example of profitable DS attack against BitcoinCash is provided. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Trends in Blockchain Technology)
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Review

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Review
Systematic Literature Review of Challenges in Blockchain Scalability
Appl. Sci. 2021, 11(20), 9372; https://doi.org/10.3390/app11209372 - 09 Oct 2021
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1569
Abstract
Blockchain technology is fast becoming the most transformative technology of recent times and has created hype and optimism, gaining much attention from the public and private sectors. It has been widely deployed in decentralized crypto currencies such as Bitcoin and Ethereum. Bitcoin is [...] Read more.
Blockchain technology is fast becoming the most transformative technology of recent times and has created hype and optimism, gaining much attention from the public and private sectors. It has been widely deployed in decentralized crypto currencies such as Bitcoin and Ethereum. Bitcoin is the success story of a public blockchain application that propelled intense research and development into blockchain technology. However, scalability remains a crucial challenge. Both Bitcoin and Ethereum are encountering low-efficiency issues with low throughput, high transaction latency, and huge energy consumption. The scalability issue in public Blockchains is hindering the provision of optimal solutions to businesses and industries. This paper presents a systematic literature review (SLR) on the public blockchain scalability issue and challenges. The scope of this SLR includes an in-depth investigation into the scalability problem of public blockchain, associated fundamental factors, and state-of-art solutions. This project managed to extract 121 primary papers from major scientific databases such as Scopus, IEEE explores, Science Direct, and Web of Science. The synthesis of these 121 articles revealed that scalability in public blockchain is not a singular term. A variety of factors are allied to it, with transaction throughput being the most discussed factor. In addition, other interdependent vita factors include storages, block size, number of nodes, energy consumption, latency, and cost. Generally, each term is somehow directly or indirectly reliant on the consensus model embraced by the blockchain nodes. It is also noticed that the contemporary available consensus models are not efficient in scalability and thus often fail to provide good QoS (throughput and latency) for practical industrial applications. Our findings exemplify that the Internet of Things (IoT) would be the leading application of blockchain in industries such as energy, finance, resource management, healthcare, education, and agriculture. These applications are, however, yet to achieve much-desired outcomes due to scalability issues. Moreover, Onchain and offchain are the two major categories of scalability solutions. Sagwit, block size expansion, sharding, and consensus mechanisms are examples of onchain solutions. Offchain, on the other hand, is a lighting network. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Trends in Blockchain Technology)
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Review
The Blockchain Oracle Problem in Decentralized Finance—A Multivocal Approach
Appl. Sci. 2021, 11(16), 7572; https://doi.org/10.3390/app11167572 - 18 Aug 2021
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 2568
Abstract
Decentralized Finance (DeFi) takes the promise of blockchain a step further and aims to transform traditional financial products into trustless and transparent protocols that run without involving intermediaries. Similar to how 2017 was the year of ICOs, 2020 was the year of DeFi, [...] Read more.
Decentralized Finance (DeFi) takes the promise of blockchain a step further and aims to transform traditional financial products into trustless and transparent protocols that run without involving intermediaries. Similar to how 2017 was the year of ICOs, 2020 was the year of DeFi, with more than fifteen billion dollars of total investments. The decentralized platforms utilize oracles to retrieve asset data from the external world, but their choice and management criteria are often unknown to the end-users. If oracles are poorly selected or managed, the funds of a rising number of investors are inevitably in danger. The issue, known as “the oracle problem”, which makes real-world applications controversial and debated due to the loss of decentralization, had recently drawn attention to DeFi, given the crescent number of related hacks that caused the loss of millions of dollars held in DeFi projects. Through a multivocal approach that considers academic papers, whitepapers, preprints, and opinion posts, this study aims to shed light on the pattern that identifies the oracle problem in DeFi and outline the most promising ways to overcome the related weaknesses. This research supports the view that the oracle problem in decentralized finance bears specific characteristics which require standardization and appropriate economic incentives to be addressed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Trends in Blockchain Technology)
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Other

Systematic Review
The Role of Blockchain in Improving the Processes and Workflows in Construction Projects
Appl. Sci. 2021, 11(19), 8835; https://doi.org/10.3390/app11198835 - 23 Sep 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 760
Abstract
Construction is prone to disputes similar to other business dealings. Construction delays are the most common causes of disputes in construction projects. Most of the time, construction projects are delayed not only because of a lack of funding, but also because of disputes [...] Read more.
Construction is prone to disputes similar to other business dealings. Construction delays are the most common causes of disputes in construction projects. Most of the time, construction projects are delayed not only because of a lack of funding, but also because of disputes between the contractor and the client. Blockchain Technologies (BCT) have the potential to make the construction industry more efficient, inexpensive, or completely automated. In this paper, an extensive literature review is conducted to locate authoritative sources about the most common applications of blockchain technology in the construction industry. The study aims to identify the potential, benefits, challenges, and uses of blockchain in the construction industry. Furthermore, this paper explores the roles of BCTs in improving and enhancing the workflow efficiency of construction projects. In addition, this paper identifies the major causes of disputes and delays in the construction industry. These causes were used as the baseline for identifying the most relevant solutions provided by blockchain technologies to develop a matching model to find applicable solutions from the literature cases to resolve the identified causes of disputes and delays. The research findings indicated that the common cases of BCT including administrative purposes, smart contracts for transactions, permanent transaction records, and permanent ownership records contribute to solving the causes of disputes and delays in construction projects. The findings of this paper recommend that both public and private stakeholders in the construction sector adopt blockchain technologies and blockchain-based Building Information Models (BIMs) to improve construction workflows and processes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Trends in Blockchain Technology)
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