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.

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@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,

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