Blockchain and Cryptocurrencies: a Classification and Comparison of Architecture Drivers

Martin Garriga, Stefano Dalla Palma, Remo Pareschi, Damian A. Tamburri

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


Blockchain is a decentralized transaction and data management solution, the technological leap behind the success of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. As the variety of existing blockchains and distributed ledgers continues to increase, adopters should focus on selecting the solution that best fits their needs and the requirements of their decentralized applications, rather than developing yet another blockchain from scratch. In this paper we present a conceptual framework to aid software architects, developers, and decision makers to adopt the right blockchain technology. The framework exposes the interrelation between technological decisions and architectural features, capturing the knowledge from existing academic literature, industrial products, technical forums/blogs, and experts' feedback. We empirically show the applicability of our framework by dissecting the platforms behind Bitcoin and other top 10 cryptocurrencies, aided by a focus group with researchers and industry practitioners. Then, we leverage the framework together with key notions of the Architectural Tradeoff Analysis Method (ATAM) to analyze four real-world blockchain case studies from industry and academia. Results shown that applying our framework leads to a deeper understanding of the architectural tradeoffs, allowing to assess technologies more objectively and select the one that best fit developers needs, ultimately cutting costs, reducing time-to-market and accelerating return on investment.
Original languageEnglish
JournalConcurrency and Computation: Practice and Experience
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2020


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