The internet was designed as a distributed, decentralized system. For example, intra- and inter-domain routing, DNS, and so on were designed to operate in a distributed manner. However, over time the dominant deployment model for applications and some infrastructure services evolved to become more centralized and hierarchical. Some of the increase in centralization is due to business models that rely on centralized accounting and administration.
However, we are simultaneously seeing the evolution of use cases (e.g., certain IoT deployments) that have difficulties scaling up and/or establishing trust in centralized deployment scenarios, along with the evolution of decentralized technologies which leverage new cryptographic infrastructures, such as DNSSEC, or which use novel, cryptographically-based distributed consensus mechanisms, such as a number of different ledger technologies.
While there is currently intensive research and development taking place around decentralized applications, the problem of decentralized infrastructure is receiving relatively less attention, despite the research challenges in this space. Some of these challenges include:
- Scalability – what are the problems that prevent decentralized infrastructure services from achieving global scale?
- Trust management in decentralized communication settings
- Privacy and targeted, verifiable disclosure
- Applicability of distributed ledger and related technologies to different use cases and environments
- Consensus algorithms for specific scenarios with a focus on Internet infrastructure services
- Distributed Trust and Delegated Computing
- Economic drivers and roadblocks for decentralizing network infrastructure
Although the term “decentralized” tends to suggest distributed ledger-based approaches, our interest in decentralized infrastructure is not limited to the use of ledgers.
This workshop will address open research issues in decentralizing Internet infrastructure services such as trust management, name resolution, resource ownership management, and resource discovery.