Decentralized Economic Mechanisms for Peer-to-Peer Data Exchange

Decentralized Economic Mechanisms for Peer-to-Peer Data Exchange


This paper presents an extensive comparison of decentralized incentive schemes in peer-to-peer file-sharing systems applied in the most popular existing protocols including BitTorrent, eDonkey2000, Direct Connect, Gnutella, FastTrack, as well as Karma, EigenTrust and Maze. Bearing in mind the large Internet traffic accounted for by these systems, a comparative analysis over a wide range of technical and economic criteria is needed to outline the incentive mechanisms or the specific features responsible for the mitigation of the free-riders’ problem. Although most of the systems compared are not in operation anymore, the conclusions drawn are highly relevant for other applications.
We find that properties such as high social visibility, strong performance during periods of high file demand, and the availability of alternatives for any possible bottleneck of a system are common among the more successful peer-to-peer protocols.


Peer-to-peer networks, incentive mechanisms, free-riding, comparative analysis


Alexander Naydenov, M.Sc.

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