Combining the Best of Blockchain and Cloud Computing

Nick Ivanov, Ph.D. Candidate
Department of Computer Science and Engineering, Michigan State University

If you ask Nick Ivanov about his research, he might tell you that he is creating an anti-corruption machine in response to the inequity and unfairness he has seen in the world around him. Ivanov, a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering, believes that decentralized computer systems can address these issues.

Blockchain is a decentralized system. It is secure, but the security comes at the cost of performance. The cloud is a centralized system. It offers high performance and significant data storage, but one shortcoming is the potential for trust abuse.

As a fellow in the 2020 Cloud Computing Fellowship, Ivanov saw an opportunity to bring a long-term vision to life. He set out to create a system that combines the best features of blockchain and cloud computing, which he calls Blockumulus.
Blockumulus, named by combining the words blockchain and cumulus, is a groundbreaking system that combines the security of blockchain with the high performance of the cloud. “Blockumulus allows us to preserve decentralization but make it much faster,” explains Ivanov.

Existing research tries to address the limitations of blockchain by fixing the blockchain itself. The resulting improvements are still insufficient to meet large-scale demand. “For example,” Ivanov offers, “none of the existing blockchains are capable of replacing credit card transactions.”

“In our research, we use a completely different approach,” he continues. “Instead of fixing blockchain, we try to run smart contracts on the cloud and use blockchain to secure this process.” Ivanov has demonstrated that Blockumulus can process tens of thousands of simultaneous transactions, which is similar to the throughput of credit card transactions in the world.

Ivanov credits the Cloud Computing Fellowship, run by the Institute for Cyber-Enabled Research (ICER) and the ITS Analytics and Data Solutions (ADS) group, for providing the resources needed for him to execute the research he had imagined for so long. “I am very thankful for the opportunity to implement the project that would otherwise be impossible,” he concludes.

Follow communications from ICER for more information about the Cloud Computing Fellowship and how you can get involved!