Cryptology ePrint Archive: Report 2021/023

What is Meant by Permissionless Blockchains?

Nicholas Stifter and Aljosha Judmayer and Philipp Schindler and Andreas Kern and Walid Fdhila

Abstract: The term permissionless has established itself within the context of blockchain and distributed ledger research to characterize protocols and systems that exhibit similar properties to Bitcoin. However, the notion of what is meant by permissionlessness is often vague or left implicit within the various literature, rendering it imprecise and hard to compare. We hereby shed light onto this topic by revising research that either incorporates or defines the term permissionless and systematically expose the properties and characteristics that its utilization intends to capture. Based on this review, we highlight current shortcomings and blind spots within the available definitions. In particular, the ability to freely perform transactions between users is often not adequately incorporated and different actor roles are left unspecified. Furthermore, the topics of privacy and governance appear to be largely overlooked.

Category / Keywords: permissionless blockchain distributed ledger

Date: received 6 Jan 2021

Contact author: nstifter at sba-research org

Available format(s): PDF | BibTeX Citation

Version: 20210106:214558 (All versions of this report)

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