What Does Not Fit Can be Made to Fit! Trade-Offs in Distributed Ledger Technology Designs

AbstractDistributed ledger technology (DLT), including blockchain, enables secure processing of transactions between untrustworthy parties in a decentralized system. However, DLT is available in different designs that exhibit diverse characteristics. Moreover, DLT characteristics have complementary and conflicting interdependencies. Hence, there will never be an ideal DLT design for all DLT use cases; instead, DLT implementations need to be configured to contextual requirements. Successful DLT configuration requires, however, a sound understanding of DLT characteristics and their interdependencies. In this manuscript, we review DLT characteristics and organize them into six groups. Furthermore, we condense interdependencies of DLT characteristics into trade-offs that should be considered for successful deployment of DLT. Finally, we consolidate our findings into DLT archetypes for common design objectives, such as security, usability, or performance. Our work makes extant DLT research more transparent and fosters understanding of interdependencies and trade-offs between DLT characteristics.


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