P4PCN: Privacy-preserving path probing for payment channel networks

Ruozhou Yu, Yinxin Wan, Vishnu Teja Kilari, Guoliang Xue, Jian Tang, Dejun Yang

Research output: Contribution to journalConference Articlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Recent advances in security and cryptography have enabled new paradigms for secure networking in various scenarios. The payment channel network (PCN) is a notable example, which has emerged from the combination of the traditional credit network in economics and the latest blockchain technology. PCN provides a secure and efficient way for conducting payments, by addressing both the intrinsic financial risk of the credit network and the scalability issue of the blockchain. A crucial challenge in PCN is routing, i.e., to find a set of paths that fulfill a payment request. Due to the fully distributed and dynamic nature of PCN, existing routing algorithms utilize active probing to improve routing success probability. However, while the payment itself is privacy-preserving through existing protocols, the probing process can leak sensitive information including the location of the sender or the recipient. In this paper, we address the privacy of the users in the path probing process, filling in the last piece of the privacy puzzle in PCN. We propose P4PCN, a cryptographic protocol for anonymous active probing without knowing the identities or public keys of the intermediate nodes, while hiding the locations of sender and recipient as well as any path-related information. Our protocol is lightweight and scales with the number of hops a probe explores. We confirm its performance via real-world implementation and simulation experiments.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number9014080
JournalProceedings - IEEE Global Communications Conference, GLOBECOM
StatePublished - 2019
Event2019 IEEE Global Communications Conference, GLOBECOM 2019 - Waikoloa, United States
Duration: Dec 9 2019Dec 13 2019


  • Blockchain
  • Payment channel network
  • Privacy and anonymity
  • Routing
  • Universal re-encryption

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Hardware and Architecture
  • Signal Processing


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