A review of blockchain architecture and consensus protocols: Use cases, challenges, and solutions

Leila Ismail, Huned Materwala

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

155 Citations (Scopus)


Over the last decade, blockchain technology has emerged to provide solutions to the complexity and privacy challenges of using distributed databases. It reduces cost for customers by eliminating intermediaries and builds trust in peer-to-peer communications. Over this time, the concept of blockchain has shifted greatly due to its potential in business growth for enterprises and the rapidly evolving applications in a collaborative smart-city ecosystem, healthcare, and governance. Many platforms, with different architectures and consensus protocols, have been introduced. Consequently, it becomes challenging for an application developer to choose the right platform. Furthermore, blockchain has misaligned with the goals for an efficient green collaborative digital ecosystem. Therefore, it becomes critical to address this gap and to build new frameworks to align blockchain with those goals. In this paper, we discuss the evolution of blockchain architecture and consensus protocols, bringing a retrospective analysis and discussing the rationale of the evolution of the various architectures and protocols, as well as capturing the assumptions conducive to their development and contributions to building collaborative applications. We introduce a classification of those architectures helping developers to choose a suitable platform for applications and providing insights for future research directions in the field to build new frameworks.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1198
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Oct 1 2019


  • Blockchain
  • Consensus
  • Hash functions
  • Privacy
  • Replication
  • Scalability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Science (miscellaneous)
  • Chemistry (miscellaneous)
  • General Mathematics
  • Physics and Astronomy (miscellaneous)


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