Theses Doctoral

CacheCash: A Cryptocurrency-based Decentralized Content Delivery Network

Almashaqbeh, Ghada

Online content delivery has witnessed dramatic growth recently with traffic consuming over half of today’s Internet bandwidth. This escalating demand has motivated content publishers to move outside the traditional solutions of infrastructure-based content delivery networks (CDNs). Instead, many are employing peer-to-peer data transfers to reduce the service cost and avoid bandwidth over-provision to handle peak demands. Unfortunately, the open access work model of this paradigm, which allows anyone to join, introduces several design challenges related to security, efficiency, and peer availability.
In this dissertation, we introduce CacheCash, a cryptocurrency-based decentralized content distribution network designed to address these challenges. CacheCash bypasses the centralized approach of CDN companies for one in which end users organically set up new caches in exchange for cryptocurrency tokens. Thus, it enables publishers to hire caches on an as-needed basis, without constraining these parties with long-term business commitments.
To address the challenges encountered as the system evolved, we propose a number of protocols and techniques that represent basic building blocks of CacheCash’s design. First, motivated by the observation that conventional security assessment tools do not suit cryptocurrency-based systems, we propose ABC, a threat modeling framework capable of identifying attacker collusion and the new threat vectors that cryptocurrencies introduce. Second, we propose CAPnet, a defense mechanism against cache accounting attacks (i.e., a client pretends to be served allowing a colluding cache to collect rewards without doing any work). CAPnet features a bandwidth expenditure puzzle that clients must solve over the content before caches are given credit, which bounds the effectiveness of this collusion case. Third, to make it feasible to reward caches per data chunk served, we introduce MicroCash, a decentralized probabilistic micropayment scheme that reduces the overhead of processing these small payments. MicroCash implements several novel ideas that make micropayments more suitable for delay-sensitive applications, such as online content delivery.
CacheCash combines the previous techniques to produce a novel service-payment exchange protocol that secures the content distribution process. This protocol utilizes gradual content disclosure and partial payment collection to encourage the honest collaborative work between participants. We present a detailed game theoretic analysis showing how to exploit rational financial incentives to address several security threats. This is in addition to various performance optimization mechanisms that promote system efficiency and scalability. Lastly, we evaluate system performance and show that modest machines can serve/retrieve content at a high bitrate with minimal overhead.


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Computer Science
Thesis Advisors
Bishop, Allison
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
August 28, 2019