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An Excess-Based Economic Model for Resource Allocation in Peer-to-Peer Networks

TitleAn Excess-Based Economic Model for Resource Allocation in Peer-to-Peer Networks
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2003
AuthorsGrothoff, C
Date PublishedJune
Keywordsanonymity, file-sharing, GNUnet

This paper describes economic aspects of GNUnet, a peer-to-peer framework for anonymous distributed file-sharing. GNUnet is decentralized; all nodes are equal peers. In particular, there are no trusted entities in the network. This paper describes an economic model to perform resource allocation and defend against malicious
participants in this context. The approach presented does not use credentials or payments; rather, it is based on trust. The design is much like that of a cooperative game in which peers take the role of players. Nodes must cooperate to achieve individual goals. In such a scenario, it is important to be able to distinguish between nodes exhibiting friendly behavior and those exhibiting malicious behavior.

GNUnet aims to provide anonymity for its users. Its design
makes it hard to link a transaction to the node where it originated from. While anonymity requirements make a global view of the end-points of a transaction infeasible, the local link-to-link messages can be fully authenticated. Our economic model is based entirely on this local view of the network and takes only local

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The paper used the term 'trust', which I found is not the best term. To begin with, it confuses people from a security point of view. A better term is 'respect'. The reasoning is simple: trust is freely given, respect is earned. The economy in the "excess-based economy" relies on peers doing work for each other, so 'respect' is the better term. The current GNUnet code now uses 'respect' instead of 'trust'; however, all of the other details from the paper remain accurate, so this is really only a question of what to call it.