(Short Paper) PieceWork: Generalized Outsourcing Control for Proofs of Work
Most prominent cryptocurrencies utilize proof of work (PoW) to secure their operation, yet PoW suffers from two key undesirable properties. First, the work done is generally wasted, not useful for anything but the gleaned security of the cryptocurrency. Second, PoW is naturally outsourceable, leading to inegalitarian concentration of power in the hands of few so-called pools that command large portions of the system’s computation power.
We introduce a general approach to constructing PoW called PieceWork that tackles both issues. In essence, PieceWork allows for a configurable fraction of PoW computation to be outsourced to workers. Its controlled outsourcing allows for reusing the work towards additional goals such as spam prevention and DoS mitigation, thereby reducing PoW waste. Meanwhile, PieceWork can be tuned to prevent excessive outsourcing. Doing so causes pool operation to be significantly more costly than today. This disincentivizes aggregation of work in mining pools.
This work is funded in part by NSF grants CNS-1330599, CNS-1514163, CNS-1564102, CNS-1561209, and CNS-1518779, ARO grant W911NF-16-1-0145, and IC3 sponsorship from Chain, IBM, and Intel.
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