High Throughput Cryptocurrency Routing in Payment Channel Networks


Vibhaalakshmi Sivaraman, Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Shaileshh Bojja Venkatakrishnan, Ohio State University; Kathleen Ruan, Carnegie Mellon University; Parimarjan Negi and Lei Yang, Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Radhika Mittal, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; Giulia Fanti, Carnegie Mellon University; Mohammad Alizadeh, Massachusetts Institute of Technology


Despite growing adoption of cryptocurrencies, making fast payments at scale remains a challenge. Payment channel networks (PCNs) such as the Lightning Network have emerged as a viable scaling solution. However, completing payments on PCNs is challenging: payments must be routed on paths with sufficient funds. As payments flow over a single channel (link) in the same direction, the channel eventually becomes depleted and cannot support further payments in that direction; hence, naive routing schemes like shortest-path routing can deplete key payment channels and paralyze the system. Today’s PCNs also route payments atomically, worsening the problem. In this paper, we present Spider, a routing solution that "packetizes" transactions and uses a multi-path transport protocol to achieve high-throughput routing in PCNs. Packetization allows Spider to complete even large transactions on low-capacity payment channels over time, while the multi-path congestion control protocol ensures balanced utilization of channels and fairness across flows. Extensive simulations comparing Spider with state-of-the-art approaches shows that Spider requires less than 25% of the funds to successfully route over 95% of transactions on balanced traffic demands, and offloads 4x more transactions onto the PCN on imbalanced demands.

NSDI '20 Open Access Sponsored by NetApp

Open Access Media

USENIX is committed to Open Access to the research presented at our events. Papers and proceedings are freely available to everyone once the event begins. Any video, audio, and/or slides that are posted after the event are also free and open to everyone. Support USENIX and our commitment to Open Access.

@inproceedings {246344,
author = {Vibhaalakshmi Sivaraman and Shaileshh Bojja Venkatakrishnan and Kathleen Ruan and Parimarjan Negi and Lei Yang and Radhika Mittal and Giulia Fanti and Mohammad Alizadeh},
title = {High Throughput Cryptocurrency Routing in Payment Channel Networks },
booktitle = {17th USENIX Symposium on Networked Systems Design and Implementation (NSDI 20)},
year = {2020},
isbn = {978-1-939133-13-7},
address = {Santa Clara, CA},
pages = {777--796},
url = {https://www.usenix.org/conference/nsdi20/presentation/sivaraman},
publisher = {USENIX Association},
month = feb

Presentation Video