Blockchain Function Virtualization

Many of the key enabling technologies of the fifth-generation (5G), such as network slicing, spectrum sharing, and federated learning, rely on a centralized authority. This may lead to pitfalls in terms of security or single point of failure. Distributed ledger technology, specifically blockchain, is currently employed by different applications related to the Internet of Things (IoT) and 5G to address the drawbacks of centralized systems. For this reason, mobile blockchain networks (MBNs) have recently attracted a great deal of attention. To add a transaction to the blockchain in MBNs, mobile or IoT users must perform various tasks like encryption, decryption, and mining. These tasks require energy and processing power, which impose limitations on mobile and IoT users’ performance because they are usually battery powered and have a low processing power. One possible solution is to perform the tasks virtually on commodity servers provided by mobile edge computing (MEC) or cloud computing. To do so, all tasks needed to add a transaction to the blockchain can be treated as virtual blockchain functions that can be executed on commodity servers. We introduce a blockchain virtualization framework called blockchain function virtualization (BFV), through which all blockchain functions can be performed virtually by MEC or cloud computing. Furthermore, we describe applications of the BFV framework and resource allocation challenges brought by the BFV framework in mobile networks. In addition, to illustrate the advantages of BFV, we define an optimization problem to simultaneously minimize the energy consumption cost and maximize miners’ rewards. Finally, simulation results show the performance of the proposed framework in terms of total energy consumption, transaction confirmation rate, and miners’ average profit.

Taskou Shiva Kazemi, Rasti Mehdi, Nardelli Pedro H. J.

A1 Journal article – refereed

S. K. Taskou, M. Rasti and P. H. J. Nardelli, "Blockchain Function Virtualization: A New Approach for Mobile Networks Beyond 5G," in IEEE Network, vol. 36, no. 6, pp. 134-141, November/December 2022, doi: 10.1109/MNET.009.2100473