Special Issue "Blockchain: Current Challenges and Future Prospects/Applications"

A special issue of Future Internet (ISSN 1999-5903).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 October 2019).

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Spyros Makridakis
Website
Guest Editor
Director Institute for the Future (IFF), University of Nicosia (UNIC), Cyprus
Interests: artificial intelligence; intelligence augmentation; blockchain; forecasting, uncertainty
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Dr. Klitos Christodoulou
Website
Guest Editor
Institute for the Future (IFF), University of Nicosia, Nicosia, Cyprus
Interests: blockchain; crypto assets; digitisation; economics; digital transformation; entrepreneurship
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Blockchain innovates in three simple but powerful directions. First, the way records are kept excludes tempering; second, it assures trust in the transactions amongst strangers; and third, it offers transparency and much greater safety/security than the traditional Internet. Blockchain has been called “the next generation of the internet” and alternatively “the Internet of value”, aiming to revolutionize the Internet of today by exploiting its three breakthrough innovations. There are still problems to be solved and challenges to be overcome, but similar ones were faced in the early 1990s when the Internet was in a comparable stage to that of today’s blockchain.

It is the purpose of this Special Issue to cover all aspects of blockchain technology. Authors are encouraged to submit articles that include existing problems/challenges together with suggestions of how they could be dealt with, as well as covering its revolutionary future prospects and their implications for real-life applications upon which the Special Issue editors have placed special emphasis. The list of topics below is indicative but not exhaustive of the papers to be submitted for possible publication in this Special Issue. 

List of Topics

  • Blockchain in 2018 versus the Internet in the early 1990s;
  • Blockchain as a disruptive technology;
  • Exploiting the advantages of blockchain while avoiding its drawbacks;
  • Blockchain security;
  • Blockchain exploiting bitcoin technology but not bound by it;
  • Challenges to be addressed for blockchain mass adoption;
  • Blockchain Breakthroughs
    • Smart contracts;
    • Supply chain;
    • Internet of Things (IoT);
    • Decentralized Autonomous Organizations (DAO);
  • Blockchain Applications
    • Banking;
    • Finance;
    • Insurance;
    • Health care;
    • Supply chain;
    • Shipping;
    • Land registry;
    • Certification;
  • Blockchain Startups and how they are revolunizing blockchain applications (founders of such startups are encourage to submit papers of their goals and how they expect to add value to blockchain applications).

Bibliography

  1. Yli-Huumo, J.; Ko, D.; Choi, S.; Park, S.; Smolander, K. Where Is Current Research on Blockchain Technology? - A Systematic Review. PLoS ONE , 2016, 11, e0163477, doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0163477.
  2. Guang, C.; Xu, B.; Lu, M.; Chen, N.S. Exploring blockchain technology and its potential applications for education. Learn. Environ. 2018, 5, 1, doi:10.1186/s40561-017-0050.
  3. Makridakis S.; Polemitis A.; Giaglis G.; Louca S. Blockchain: The Next Breakthrough in the Rapid Progress of AI. Robot. Autom. Eng. J. 2018, 2, 1–12.
  4. Schwab, K. The Fourth Industrial Revolution, Crown Business. Available online: https://www.weforum.org/about/the-fourth-industrial-revolution-by-klaus-schwab (accessed on 29 December 2018).
  5. Christidis, K.; Devetsikiotis, M. Blockchains and Smart Contracts for the Internet of Things. Ieee Access 2016, 4, 2292–2303, doi:10.1109/ACCESS.2016.2566339.

Prof. Dr. Spyros Makridakis
Dr. Klitos Christodoulou
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Future Internet is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1000 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
  • applications
  • startups
  • local networks
  • distributed ledger
  • smart contracts
  • internet of things
  • decentralized autonomous organizations (DAO)

Published Papers (7 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle
Consensus Crash Testing: Exploring Ripple’s Decentralization Degree in Adversarial Environments
Future Internet 2020, 12(3), 53; https://doi.org/10.3390/fi12030053 - 16 Mar 2020
Abstract
The inception of Bitcoin as a peer-to-peer payment system, and its underlying blockchain data-structure and protocol, has led to an increased interest in deploying scalable and reliable distributed-ledger systems that build on robust consensus protocols. A critical requirement of such systems is [...] Read more.
The inception of Bitcoin as a peer-to-peer payment system, and its underlying blockchain data-structure and protocol, has led to an increased interest in deploying scalable and reliable distributed-ledger systems that build on robust consensus protocols. A critical requirement of such systems is to provide enough fault tolerance in the presence of adversarial attacks or network faults. This is essential to guarantee liveness when the network does not behave as expected and ensure that the underlying nodes agree on a unique order of transactions over a shared state. In comparison with traditional distributed systems, the deployment of a distributed-ledger system should take into account the hidden game theoretical aspects of such protocols, where actors are competing with each other in an environment which is likely to experience various well-motivated malicious and adversarial attacks. Firstly, this paper discusses the fundamental principles of existing consensus protocols in the context of both permissioned and permissionless distributed-ledger systems. The main contribution of this work deals with observations from experimenting with Ripple’s consensus protocol as it is embodied in the XRP Ledger. The main experimental finding suggests that, when a low percentage of malicious nodes is present, the centralization degree of the network can be significantly relaxed ensuring low convergence times. Those findings are of particular importance when engineering a consensus algorithm that would like to balance security with decentralization. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Blockchain: Current Challenges and Future Prospects/Applications)
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Open AccessArticle
A Blockchain based PKI Validation System based on Rare Events Management
Future Internet 2020, 12(2), 40; https://doi.org/10.3390/fi12020040 - 14 Feb 2020
Abstract
Public key infrastructures (PKIs) are the cornerstone for the security of the communication layer of online services relying on certificate-based authentication, such as e-commerce, e-government, online banking, cloud services, and many others. A PKI is an infrastructure based on a hierarchical model, but [...] Read more.
Public key infrastructures (PKIs) are the cornerstone for the security of the communication layer of online services relying on certificate-based authentication, such as e-commerce, e-government, online banking, cloud services, and many others. A PKI is an infrastructure based on a hierarchical model, but the use of PKIs in non-hierarchical contexts has exposed them to many types of attacks. Here, we discuss weaknesses exploited in past attacks and we propose a solution based on an original consensus algorithm developed for use on blockchain technology. In this implementation we retain the full functionality around X.509 certificates, i.e., for the triad (server name, server address, X.509 server certificate), and demonstrate a mechanism for obtaining fast consensus. The main properties of the solution are that a consensus may be reached even when not all members of the involved PKI participate in a transaction, and that no advanced trust agreement among PKIs is needed. The proposed solution is able to detect PKI attacks and can distinguish errors from attacks, allowing precise management of anomalies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Blockchain: Current Challenges and Future Prospects/Applications)
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Open AccessArticle
FaDe: A Blockchain-Based Fair Data Exchange Scheme for Big Data Sharing
Future Internet 2019, 11(11), 225; https://doi.org/10.3390/fi11110225 - 24 Oct 2019
Cited by 2
Abstract
In the big data era, data are envisioned as critical resources with various values, e.g., business intelligence, management efficiency, and financial evaluations. Data sharing is always mandatory for value exchanges and profit promotion. Currently, certain big data markets have been created for facilitating [...] Read more.
In the big data era, data are envisioned as critical resources with various values, e.g., business intelligence, management efficiency, and financial evaluations. Data sharing is always mandatory for value exchanges and profit promotion. Currently, certain big data markets have been created for facilitating data dissemination and coordinating data transaction, but we have to assume that such centralized management of data sharing must be trustworthy for data privacy and sharing fairness, which very likely imposes limitations such as joining admission, sharing efficiency, and extra costly commissions. To avoid these weaknesses, in this paper, we propose a blockchain-based fair data exchange scheme, called FaDe. FaDe can enable de-centralized data sharing in an autonomous manner, especially guaranteeing trade fairness, sharing efficiency, data privacy, and exchanging automation. A fairness protocol based on bit commitment is proposed. An algorithm based on blockchain script architecture for a smart contract, e.g., by a bitcoin virtual machine, is also proposed and implemented. Extensive analysis justifies that the proposed scheme can guarantee data exchanging without a trusted third party fairly, efficiently, and automatically. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Blockchain: Current Challenges and Future Prospects/Applications)
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Open AccessArticle
Blockchain and the Tokenization of the Individual: Societal Implications
Future Internet 2019, 11(10), 220; https://doi.org/10.3390/fi11100220 - 22 Oct 2019
Abstract
We are living in a world where the very systems upon which trust is based are being challenged by new and exciting paradigm shifts. Centralization whether in the form of governments, financial institutions, enterprises and organizations is simply being challenged because of the [...] Read more.
We are living in a world where the very systems upon which trust is based are being challenged by new and exciting paradigm shifts. Centralization whether in the form of governments, financial institutions, enterprises and organizations is simply being challenged because of the lack of trust associated with data governance often experienced in the form of data breaches or simply a monetization of our data without our permission and/or incentives to participate in this emerging decentralization of structures. We see this trust deficit challenging the very institutions we have depended on including but not limited to financial institutions, private enterprises or government bodies. A new “social contract” is required as we continuously evolve into more decentralized and self-governing (or semi self-governing) entities. We will see more development in digital sovereignty with the caveat that a governance model will need to be defined. This position paper will present evidence that supports the premise that blockchain and individual tokenization could provide a new social contract. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Blockchain: Current Challenges and Future Prospects/Applications)
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Open AccessArticle
Artificial Intelligence Implementations on the Blockchain. Use Cases and Future Applications
Future Internet 2019, 11(8), 170; https://doi.org/10.3390/fi11080170 - 02 Aug 2019
Cited by 3
Abstract
An exemplary paradigm of how an AI can be a disruptive technological paragon via the utilization of blockchain comes straight from the world of deep learning. Data scientists have long struggled to maintain the quality of a dataset for machine learning by an [...] Read more.
An exemplary paradigm of how an AI can be a disruptive technological paragon via the utilization of blockchain comes straight from the world of deep learning. Data scientists have long struggled to maintain the quality of a dataset for machine learning by an AI entity. Datasets can be very expensive to purchase, as, depending on both the proper selection of the elements and the homogeneity of the data contained within, constructing and maintaining the integrity of a dataset is difficult. Blockchain as a highly secure storage medium presents a technological quantum leap in maintaining data integrity. Furthermore, blockchain’s immutability constructs a fruitful environment for creating high quality, permanent and growing datasets for deep learning. The combination of AI and blockchain could impact fields like Internet of things (IoT), identity, financial markets, civil governance, smart cities, small communities, supply chains, personalized medicine and other fields, and thereby deliver benefits to many people. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Blockchain: Current Challenges and Future Prospects/Applications)
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Review

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Open AccessReview
Blockchain: Current Challenges and Future Prospects/Applications
Future Internet 2019, 11(12), 258; https://doi.org/10.3390/fi11120258 - 12 Dec 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
Blockchain is a new technology, often referred to as the Internet of Value. As with all new technologies, there is no consensus on its potential value, with some people claiming that it will bring more disruptive changes than the Internet and others contesting [...] Read more.
Blockchain is a new technology, often referred to as the Internet of Value. As with all new technologies, there is no consensus on its potential value, with some people claiming that it will bring more disruptive changes than the Internet and others contesting the extent of its importance. Despite predictions that the future is perilous, there is evidence that blockchain is a remarkable, new technology that will change the way transactions are made, based on its ability to guarantee trust among unknown actors, assure the immutability of records, while also making intermediaries obsolete. The importance of blockchain can be confirmed by the interest in digital currencies, the great number of published blockchain papers, as well as MDPI’s journal Future Internet which exclusively publishes blockchain articles, including this special issue covering present and future blockchain challenges. This paper is a survey of the fast growing field of blockchain, discussing its advantages and possible drawbacks and their implications for the future of the Internet and our personal lives and societies in general. The paper consists of the following parts; the first provides a general introduction and discusses the disruptive changes initiated by blockchain, the second discusses the unique value of blockchain and its general characteristics, the third presents an overview of industries with the greatest potential for disruptive changes, the forth describes the four major blockchain applications with the highest prospective advantages, and the fifth part of the paper ends with a discussion on the most notable subset of innovative blockchain applications—Smart Contracts, DAOs (Decentralized Autonomous Organizations) and super safe networks—and their future implications. There is also a concluding section, which summarizes the paper, describes the future of blockchain, and mentions the challenges to be overcome. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Blockchain: Current Challenges and Future Prospects/Applications)
Open AccessReview
A Systematic Analysis of Real-World Energy Blockchain Initiatives
Future Internet 2019, 11(8), 174; https://doi.org/10.3390/fi11080174 - 10 Aug 2019
Abstract
The application of blockchain technology to the energy sector promises to derive new operating models focused on local generation and sustainable practices, which are driven by peer-to-peer collaboration and community engagement. However, real-world energy blockchains differ from typical blockchain networks insofar as they [...] Read more.
The application of blockchain technology to the energy sector promises to derive new operating models focused on local generation and sustainable practices, which are driven by peer-to-peer collaboration and community engagement. However, real-world energy blockchains differ from typical blockchain networks insofar as they must interoperate with grid infrastructure, adhere to energy regulations, and embody engineering principles. Naturally, these additional dimensions make real-world energy blockchains highly dependent on the participation of grid operators, engineers, and energy providers. Although much theoretical and proof-of-concept research has been published on energy blockchains, this research aims to establish a lens on real-world projects and implementations that may inform the alignment of academic and industry research agendas. This research classifies 131 real-world energy blockchain initiatives to develop an understanding of how blockchains are being applied to the energy domain, what type of failure rates can be observed from recently reported initiatives, and what level of technical and theoretical details are reported for real-world deployments. The results presented from the systematic analysis highlight that real-world energy blockchains are (a) growing exponentially year-on-year, (b) producing relatively low failure/drop-off rates (~7% since 2015), and (c) demonstrating information sharing protocols that produce content with insufficient technical and theoretical depth. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Blockchain: Current Challenges and Future Prospects/Applications)
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