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Golem's R&D team presents: Model 0: low-level defence measures for Sybil attacks in P2P networks

Authors: Marcin Benke, Jakub Konka, Łukasz Gleń

Thanks to María Paula Fernández

With Golem, you can exchange computational power as a commodity or as a service for GNT (Golem Network Tokens): the requestors rent the providers’ computation power in order to compute their tasks, and their interactions constitute the market transactions. These transactions and users hence form a small economy. Through this article, we will present how such an economy can be secured from malicious parties with a limited set of tools.

P2P network security

Picture a pure distributed p2p network. By definition, anyone can join a p2p network at any given time with no restrictions whatsoever. A participating node only reveals its network identity, while keeping its personal information secret. Since the network is decentralized — and by its distributed nature — not governed or regulated by any of its parts, the participating party cannot revoke transactions or call for arbitrage in case they believe they are being deceived by a malicious counterparty. In other words, nodes assume the full risk. Lastly, the network is untrusted — there is no ‘source of truth’, meaning that any interaction with another node is risky.

In general, security in p2p networks can be enhanced by using distributed reputation systems, other distributed algorithms, by blockchains, ‘oracles’, by providing Proof of Work, personalization, deposits or impeding the creation of new identities, etc. In this blog post, we are studying raw networks with no augmentations — a node has access only to the history of its own transactions. Based on this setup we aim to find a way to secure the transactions in the system if such a way exists. Through this article, we shall refer to this problem as Model 0.

Network security, at Golem, is a top priority we will always strive towards. While Model 0 is the first step towards it, it is by no means the end of our work on this front...

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