Paper 2018/320

General State Channel Networks

Stefan Dziembowski, Sebastian Faust, and Kristina Hostáková


One of the fundamental challenges that hinder further adaption of decentralized cryptocurrencies is scalability. Because current cryptocurrencies require that all transactions are processed and stored on a distributed ledger -- the so-called blockchain -- transaction throughput is inherently limited. An important proposal to significantly improve scalability are off-chain protocols, where the massive amount of transactions is executed without requiring the costly interaction with the blockchain. Examples of off-chain protocols include payment channels and networks, which are currently deployed by popular cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and Ethereum. A further extension of payment networks envisioned for cryptocurrencies are so-called state channel networks. In contrast to payment networks that only support off-chain payments between users, state channel networks allow execution of arbitrary complex smart contracts. The main contribution of this work is to give the first full specification for general state channel networks. Moreover, we provide formal security definitions and prove the security of our construction against powerful adversaries. An additional benefit of our construction is the use of channel virtualization, which further reduces latency and costs in complex channel networks.

Note: Major revision: changed title, improved efficiency of the protocols, added examples and discussion about practical considerations.

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Publication info
Published elsewhere. MAJOR revision.ACM CCS 2018
cryptocurrenciesblockchain protocolsstate channel networksvirtualization
Contact author(s)
ka hostakova @ gmail com
2018-08-22: last of 2 revisions
2018-04-08: received
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      author = {Stefan Dziembowski and Sebastian Faust and Kristina Hostáková},
      title = {General State Channel Networks},
      howpublished = {Cryptology ePrint Archive, Paper 2018/320},
      year = {2018},
      note = {\url{}},
      url = {}
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