TopoShot: Uncovering Ethereum's network topology leveraging replacement transactions

Kai Li, Yuzhe Tang, Jiaqi Chen, Yibo Wang, Xianghong Liu

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

Abstract

Ethereum relies on a peer-to-peer overlay network to propagate information. The knowledge of Ethereum network topology holds the key to understanding Ethereum's security, availability, and user anonymity. However, an Ethereum network's topology is stored in individual nodes' internal routing tables, measuring which poses challenges and remains an open research problem in the existing literature. This paper presents TopoShot, a new method uniquely repurposing Ethereum's transaction replacement/eviction policies for topology measurement. TopoShot can be configured to support Geth, Parity and other major Ethereum clients. As validated on local nodes, TopoShot achieves 100% measurement precision and high recall (88% ~ 97%). To efficiently measure the large Ethereum networks in the wild, we propose a non-trivial schedule to run pair-wise measurements in parallel. To enable ethical measurement on Ethereum mainnet, we propose workload-adaptive configurations of TopoShot to minimize the service interruption to target nodes/network. We systematically measure a variety of Ethereum networks and obtain new knowledge including the full-network topology in major testnets (Ropsten, Rinkeby and Goerli) and critical sub-network topology in the mainnet. The results on testnets show interesting graph-theoretic properties, such as all testnets exhibit graph modularity significantly lower than random graphs, implying resilience to network partitions. The mainnet results show biased neighbor selection strategies adopted by critical Ethereum services such as mining pools and transaction relays, implying a degree of centralization in real Ethereum networks.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationIMC 2021 - Proceedings of the 2021 ACM Internet Measurement Conference
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery
Pages302-319
Number of pages18
ISBN (Electronic)9781450391290
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 2 2021
Event21st ACM Internet Measurement Conference, IMC 2021 - Virtual, Online, United States
Duration: Nov 2 2021Nov 4 2021

Publication series

NameProceedings of the ACM SIGCOMM Internet Measurement Conference, IMC

Conference

Conference21st ACM Internet Measurement Conference, IMC 2021
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityVirtual, Online
Period11/2/2111/4/21

Keywords

  • blockchain
  • ethereum transactions
  • network measurements
  • overlay networks

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Computer Networks and Communications

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