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Boomerang: Redundancy Improves Latency and Throughput in Payment-Channel Networks

Disclaimer: This codebase comes with absolutely no warranty. Use strictly at your own risk!

Abstract

In multi-path routing schemes for payment-channel networks, Alice transfers funds to Bob by splitting them into partial payments and routing them along multiple paths. Undisclosed channel balances and mismatched transaction fees cause delays and failures on some payment paths. For atomic transfer schemes, these straggling paths stall the whole transfer. We show that the latency of transfers reduces when redundant payment paths are added. This frees up liquidity in payment channels and hence increases the throughput of the network. We devise Boomerang, a generic technique to be used on top of multi-path routing schemes to construct redundant payment paths free of counterparty risk. In our experiments, applying Boomerang to a baseline routing scheme leads to 40% latency reduction and 2x throughput increase. We build on ideas from publicly verifiable secret sharing, such that Alice learns a secret of Bob iff Bob overdraws funds from the redundant paths. Funds are forwarded using Boomerang contracts, which allow Alice to revert the transfer iff she has learned Bob's secret. We implement the Boomerang contract in Bitcoin Script.

Paper

  • Boomerang: Redundancy Improves Latency and Throughput in Payment-Channel Networks
    Vivek Bagaria, Joachim Neu, David Tse
    24th International Conference on Financial Cryptography and Data Security (FC'20), February 2020
    https://arxiv.org/abs/1910.01834

For an excellent summary of the paper, check out the Bitcoin Optech Newsletter #86.

Getting Started

The following sections provide basic familiarity with this codebase. For questions, please contact Joachim Neu.

Dependencies

The Boomerang experiments were developed on Linux and have the following major dependencies (we used the version in brackets):

  • Python (v3.8) + dependencies listed in requirements.txt
  • Go (v1.13.5)
  • Gnuplot (v5.2)
  • Bash (v5.0.11)

Anatomy of the Repository

The anatomy of the repository is inspired by that of the Flash routing protocol.

  • mockclient3: The payment-channel network node software simulator/prototype, written in Go.
  • testbed: The environment to run simulation experiments in.
    • analysis: Gnuplot and Bash scripts to turn simulation results into plots.
    • gen_trace: Python code test-own-02-uniform-srcdst-ripple-amount-multiple.py to setup simulation scenarios (randomly sample network topologies, initial channel balances, and transfer demands from certain probability distributions).
    • parse_graph: Go code to prepare a simulation scenario generated by gen_trace for execution by mockclient3.
    • server: Where it all comes together: The Bash script run-own-comparison-12.sh orchestrates the simulations (mockclient3) of certain scenarios (gen_trace) for various parameters.

Where to start? The best entry point to this repository is probably the Bash script testbed/server/run-own-comparison-12.sh. From there you can find your way to all the parts of the codebase.

Download & Setup

Download the repository and setup the Python virtual environment (venv):

git clone https://github.com/tse-group/boomerang.git
cd boomerang/
python -m venv venv
source venv/bin/activate
pip install -r requirements.txt

Analysis

View the plots in testbed/analysis/results/12_N100 and recreate them using Gnuplot with:

cd testbed/analysis/
./analyze-comparison-12.sh
cd ../../

Simulation Scenarios

Uncompress the simulation scenarios:

cd testbed/gen_trace/
unzip 02_nodes100_txs500_paths25_edges4.605170to6.907755.zip
cd ../../

To create new simulation scenarios, uncompress the underlying Ripple trace dataset, adjust the parameters in test-own-02-uniform-srcdst-ripple-amount-multiple.py, and create the scenarios, using:

cd testbed/gen_trace/
cd data/
bzip2 -d ripple_val.csv.bz2
cd ../
python test-own-02-uniform-srcdst-ripple-amount-multiple.py
cd ../../

Run Experiments

First, build the Go code in mockclient3/ and testbed/parse_graph/:

cd mockclient3/
go build
cd ../
cd testbed/parse_graph/
go build
cd ../../

Then, run the simulations:

cd testbed/server/
./run-own-comparison-12.sh
cd ../../

To adjust the parameters or which scenarios are being simulated, modify run-own-comparison-12.sh.

References

  • Boomerang: Redundancy Improves Latency and Throughput in Payment-Channel Networks
    Vivek Bagaria, Joachim Neu, David Tse
    24th International Conference on Financial Cryptography and Data Security (FC'20), February 2020
    https://arxiv.org/abs/1910.01834 - Bitcoin Optech Newsletter #86

  • Flash: Efficient Dynamic Routing for Offchain Networks
    Peng Wang, Hong Xu, Xin Jin, Tao Wang
    ACM CoNEXT 2019
    https://arxiv.org/abs/1902.05260 - Code on GitHub

  • Settling Payments Fast and Private: Efficient Decentralized Routing for Path-Based Transactions
    Stefanie Roos, Pedro Moreno-Sanchez, Aniket Kate, Ian Goldberg
    NDSS 2018
    Paper - Code

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