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Blockchain Characteristics and Consensus in Modern Business
Wattana Viriyasitavat1, Danupol Hoonsopon2
1Business Information Technology Division, Department of Statistics, 2Department of Marketing,
Faculty of Commerce and Accountancy, Chulalongkorn University, Pathumwan, Bangkok, 10330, Thailand
Blockchain technology has attracted a great deal of attentions as an effective way to innovate business processes. It has to
be integrated with other Business Process Management system (BPM) components to implement specified functionalities
related to the applications. The current efforts in integrating this technology into BPM are at a very early stage. To apply
Blockchain into business processes efficiently, Blockchain and business process characteristics must be identified.
Inconsistency of confirmation settlement that heavily relies on the implementation of consensus protocol poses a major
challenge in business process operations, especially ones that are time-critical. In addition, validators, nodes responsible
for performing consensus operations in a Blockchain system, can introduce bias and as a result are not trustable. This
paper first defines Blockchain and also investigates the characteristics of Blockchain and business processes. Then, we
suggest an architecture of business processes in Blockchain era to overcome the problems of time inconsistency and
consensus bias. The architecture provides persistency, validity, auditability, and disintermediary that Blockchain offers.
The architecture also provides flexibility by allowing business partner to select nodes in performing consensus; thus bias
Keywords: Blockchain, Smart Contract, Consensus, Business Processes, Service; Workflow; Specification Language; System
Over the past decades, consensus mechanisms have been extensively studied in a classical distributed system.
After the success of Bitcoin , the first cryptocurrency appeared in early 2009, Blockchain technology has
attracted attentions from academia and industry sectors . Currently, the rise of Blockcahin applications
spans across diverse range far beyond crytocurrencies, including insurance , medicine [4–6], economics [7–
9], Internet of things [10–12], supply chain, software engineering [13–15], etc. The core element of any
Blockchain application is its consensus protocol for reaching consensus of information sharing, replicating
state, and broadcasting transactions, among participants. This has made the consensus mechanisms received
revived attentions in recent years [16, 59]. There exists multiple implementations of consensus in
decentralized settings, and some are still in their proposals.
2 W. Viriyasitavat/ Journal of Industrial Informatic Integration 1 (2018) xxx–xxx
The key properties of integrity, resilience, and transparency of Blockchain make it an attractive
option to enterprises to revolutionize their business processes. With the growth and integration of modern
technologies including Business Process Management (BPM), Service Workflow, Internet of Things (IoT),
Cloud Computing, Service-oriented Architecture (SoA), and Cyber-Physical Systems (CPSs) in Industry 4.0,
centralized BPM tools face their limits in meeting the conflicting requirements and trade-off of scalability,
security, openness, trust, and cost [18, 19]. To survive in a competitive market, implementing flexible business
processes in opened environments is unavoidable, as to promote collaboration, knowledge sharing, and
collective decision [20, 40, 60, 64]. The advancement of the technologies provides a wide range of
opportunities for automating, sharing information, and transforming businesses , especially when IoT
devices are becoming prevalent . From this perspective, the newly developed Blockchain technology can
be integrated as an essential ingredient for business processes to alleviate the issues of security, distribution,
openness, cost-effectiveness, and most importantly trust. With the application of modern technologies, the
innovative business process termed business process 4.0 strives for the ultimate goals of interoperation,
automation, trust, and transparency.
There are rapidly growing researches on theories and applications on Blockchain and consensus
mechanisms. Prior works relevant to this area try to solve the fundamental agreement problem mainly
exercised in Asynchronous Byzantine-related consensus exhibited in distributed systems [16, 22], which can
explain as a system with n asynchronous processes that still ensure agreement on a single value despite having
some faulty nodes. This field has been extensively studied in the distributed systems community for closed
systems since the 1970s. At present, there is a slight shift on the landscape of how consensus is exercised.
1. Now it relies heavily on a message-passing model where not all nodes are required to find a
solution, but once proposed, it will be broadcasted to other nodes that can easily verify the
2. System configurations can vary regarding the degree of centralization and openness. Private and
permissioned Blockchains tend to be more centralized than public Blockchains, while
information access is more opened in public Blockchain.
3. Other economic and psychology parameters are incorporated such as in PoS-based consensus.
4. Unlike closed systems usually exhibited in traditional distributed systems, Blockchain systems
are more opened and lead to a plethora of new designs of consensus algorithms .
To study the effect of Blockchain and its consensus in modern business processes, we conduct a survey
on consensus mechanisms exercised in distributed Blockchain applications in the field of business process 4.0
and then presents an architecture for consensus by incorporating the 2nd generation of Blockchain, smart
contract, to be more flexible and better support user requirements. Thus, the paper makes the following
1. We provide definitions and characteristics of Blockchains with respect to consensus
2. We identify the relations of Blockchain and business process characteristics
3. We propose an architecture and guidelines for making consensus to be more flexible and
reliable that better reacts to user requirements in the field of business process interoperation.
We believe that our architecture and guidelines will attract and encourage many researchers to
implement effective consensus in solving time inconsistency and bias. In addition, the paper will serve as a
good reference for and raise awareness of Blockchain researchers and practitioners to understand the
relationship in adopting Blockchain the technology and consensuses in the context of business processes.
The remainder of this paper is organized as follows. Section 2 provides the definitions of Blockchain
technology and consensus mechanisms. Section 3 identifies the classification of Blockchain systems and
W. Viriyasitavat/ Journal of Industrial Informatic Integration 1 (2018) xxx–xxx 3
explains the characteristics and relations of Blockchain and business processes. Section 4 introduces our
architecture for applying Blockchain technology to business processes. Lastly, section 5 concludes the paper.
2. The Definition of Blockchain and Consensus Properties
Across most current researches, how Blockchain is defined is informal, mostly described specifically to the
context of use and using some marketing words in terms of properties Blockchain offers or how security can
be attained. These include, for example, a public ledger for recording transactions maintained by many nodes
without central authority through a distributed cryptographic protocol ; a decentralized database with the
ability to operate in a decentralized setting without relying on trusted intermediaries ; a decentralized,
replicated, immutable and tamper-evident log, allowing anyone to read data and verify the correctness ; a
type of distributed ledger (data structure) containing information about transactions or events, which is
replicated and shared among the participants in the network . Most of them include terms immutability,
auditability, transparency, distributed database or ledger, and no trusted intermediary.
Oxford dictionary defines Blockchain as “A system in which a record of transactions made in bitcoin
or another cryptocurrency are maintained across several computers that are linked in a peer-to-peer
network”. However, the scope is limited within cryptocurrency in which the technology can be further
employed in a diverse range of applications . In this paper, we extend the Blockchain definition to address
a broader context as “A technology that enables immutability, and integrity of data in which a record of
transactions made in a system are maintained across several distributed nodes that are linked in a peer-to-
peer network”. Some properties can be inferred in the definition. For example, transparency can be enhanced
according to the degree of information disclosed to the public outside the system. This allows the system to be
auditable. Resilience is another property benefited from distributed setting. The degree of resilience depends
on the number of participating nodes. The system correctness relies heavily on the assumption that the
majority of nodes are benign. Since the data can be trusted, central intermediaries are no longer required.
Apart from cryptography including cryptographic hash and digital signature, the key success of
Blockchain relies on consensus mechanisms that determine overall performance and scalability of a system.
Consensus is described as the agreement among a group of nodes onto the truth about their data. However, the
common Blockchain consensus has not yet been defined. Oxford dictionary defines the term consensus as “A
general agreement”. Therefore, in this paper, we use the definition of Blockchain consensus as “The
agreement of common value among a group of nodes in Blockchain systems”.
2.2. Consensus Properties
The research on consensus has extensively been studied in distributed systems to be resilient to node failures,
partitioning of the network, message delays, messages out-of-order or missing, and compromised messages. In
the context of Blockchain, consensus mechanisms need to deal with selfish, faulty, or malicious nodes and
ensure that all nodes in the network agree upon a consistent global state. Any Blockchain consensus tries to
address three key properties based upon which its applicability and efficacy can be determined .
1. Safety: Safety property guarantees that something bad will never happen. It corresponds to
validity and agreement properties in the traditional consensuses appeared in distributed systems.
Validity is defined as if some correct processes propose the same value v, then any correct
process that decides, decides v. Agreement ensures that no two correct processes decide
differently. Generally, a consensus mechanism is safe if at least one honest node produces a
4 W. Viriyasitavat/ Journal of Industrial Informatic Integration 1 (2018) xxx–xxx
valid output then all other nodes produce or receive the same output. The results are valid and
identical to all nodes, referring as consistency of the share state .
2. Liveness: Liveness guarantees that something good will happen eventually. This is also known
as termination in the traditional consensus in distributed systems stating that every correct
process eventually decides on a value. A consensus mechanism ensures liveness if all benign
nodes participating in a consensus eventually produce a value and all correct requests will be
eventually processed. There is no bound on the time it takes to decide on a value, such that this
property does not require every node to have an identical state at a given point of time.
3. Fault Tolerance: A consensus mechanism provides fault tolerance if it is resilient (operate
correctly) from failures of some nodes participating in a consensus at any point. As long as
faulty nodes are limited, the correct consensus is still being reached. The failure of nodes
exhibits in two categories. Fail-stop or crash-failure deals with nodes that stop to process
temporarily or permanently in emitting or receiving messages, or participating in the consensus
protocol. Byzantine failures on the other hand deal with malicious nodes that are specially
crafted to defeat properties of a consensus protocol. The second category was well identified
and characterized by Leslie Lamport as the Byzantine General’s Problem .
While all the three properties are important, Fischer Lynch Paterson (FLP)  impossibility result has
proven that any deterministic asynchronous consensus system can have at most two of the three properties.
Any distributed consensus system in asynchronous environments must sacrifice one of the three properties
depending on its requirements and assumptions in implementing its consensus. Since fault tolerance is
considered the most important, most Blockchain applications tend to sacrifice either safety or liveness .
For example, Paxos , Raft , view-stamped replication  employ consensus algorithms that favor
fault tolerance and safety over liveness, which means that everyone will agree on what the ledger is at a point
of time. Ripple/Stellar [33, 38], Bitcoin , Ethereum , and many cryptocurrencies choose fault tolerance
and liveness over safety. This emphasizes ledger closes and availability over that everyone actually has the
same ledger .
3. Blockchain and Business Process Characteristics
The purpose of this section is to identify general characteristics and the relations between Blockchain and
business processes. The relations and analysis of these two will be discussed along the way in the following
TABL E 1
EVA L U AT I O N S O F PUBLIC, PRIVATE, AND PERMISSIONED BLOCKCHAIN SYSTEMS
Tran sac tio n
Trus t o f t he
#1, #2, #3
*The evaluation is assumed all systems operate in the same scale.
**The performance is inversely proportional to scalability .
W. Viriyasitavat/ Journal of Industrial Informatic Integration 1 (2018) xxx–xxx 5
3.1. Blockchain Characteristics
There are multiple factors that characterize Blockchain systems. In what follows, we identify important
characteristics in the aspects of deployments, implementation, and properties.
(1) Private, Public, and Permissioned Blockchain: The distinction among these types of
Blockchains is the scheme of ledger sharing and who is allowed to participate in a system .
In private Blockchain, ledgers are shared in and validated by a predefined group of nodes. The
system requires initiation or validation to nodes that want to be part of the system. Authorized
nodes are responsible for maintaining consensus. Private Blockchain is suitable for closed
systems, where all nodes are fully trusted. The owner has highest authority to control access to
Public Blockchains like Bitcoin, Ethereum, etc. on the other hand allow anyone to access
and maintain the distributed ledger with permissions to validate the integrity of the ledger by
running consensus mechanism. A public Blockchain network is completely opened and
distributed; anyone can freely join, participate, and leave the system. Therefore, this system
operates under unknown and untrusted nodes.
Permissioned Blockchains are hybrid between private and public Blockchains by
incorporating many parties and the main nodes are initially and strictly selected. Permissioned
Blockchain is suitable for semi-closed systems consisting of a few enterprises, often organized
in the form of a consortium. The degree of data openness varies, usually involving access
controls, defined by the consortium, to control access in both participants and information inside
Blockchains. Even though the system is not fully opened, the benefits of decentralization can be
partially gained. For example, the system has some degree of false tolerance in the event of
some nodes acting maliciously. Hyperledger Fabric , Ripple  and Stellar  are
examples of permissioned Blockchain implementations.
Although they are different in setting, all types of Blockchain share the following
similarities regarding the benefits that Blockchain technology provides. (1) They operate on
Peer-to-Peer (P2P) network that provides some degree of decentralization, (2) multiple nodes
maintain the integrity of the ledger through consensus mechanisms, and (3) data are stored in
Blockchain which provides immutability, even when some nodes are faulty or malicious .
We summarize the works in [17, 27, 41-43] with the comparison of the three Blockchain types
given in Table 1. The following evaluation metrics are used: Cost per transaction, Performance,
Trust of the system, Scalability, and Maintenance. This broad view captured by the table assists
in visualizing capabilities of each type of Blockchain. The metrics are associated with three
main factors of #1 the number of nodes, #2 how nodes are selected, and #3 the selection of
consensus mechanisms. #1, #2, and #3 are referenced in Table 1.
(2) Centralization and Decentralization: In traditional centralized database systems, transactions
are inherently trusted or endorsed through central trusted intermediaries that guarantee validity.
This incurs additional cost and the performance becomes a big issue when using central servers.
Blockchain technology is a promising solution to the distributed transaction management
problems , being conducted among peers in P2P network. Public Blockchains exhibit in a
fully decentralized setting, allowing trust of the transactions to be established among previous
unknown or untrusted nodes. Private Blockchains work in a closed and trusted environment and
employ access control techniques to achieve the same stance. The degree of decentralization is
characterized by the node selection under the control of an owner. This setting is similar to
traditional distributed database system. Like private Blockchains, Permissioned Blockchains
6 W. Viriyasitavat/ Journal of Industrial Informatic Integration 1 (2018) xxx–xxx
operate in a trusted environment but have the higher degree of decentralization. Nodes are
granted the membership status based on consortium policies. All nodes maintain Blockchain
information, where no single entity has the full control of the system. All types of Blockchains
share common benefits of decentralization in different degrees, which diminish the single point
of failure and data integrity.
(3) Persistency: Transactions recorded in a Blockchain ledger is considered persistent as they
spread across the network, where each node maintains and controls its records. As long as the
majority of nodes are benign, persistency is persistently retained. Several properties are derived
from this characteristic including transparency, and immutability (temper resistance). This
transparency and immutability mean that Blockchains are auditable .
(4) Validity: Unlike some distributed systems, Blockchains do not require executions from each
node. Transactions, or blocks, broadcasted in a Blockchain system would be validated by other
nodes. So any falsification could be detected easily. This system consists of three major roles:
(1) proposers who propose a value, (2) acceptors who validate and decide which value to be
taken, and (2) learners who accept on the chose value .
(5) Anonymity and Identity: Anonymity is the main characteristic of public Blockchains. Identity in
this system can be untied to a user real-world identity. One user can obtain multiple identities to
avoid identity exposure . There is no need for any central entity to maintain private
information. As a result, according to the transaction information, the real-world identity cannot
be obtained, preserving a certain amount of privacy. On the other hand, identity is usually
required in the systems that are operated and governed by known entities in the settings like
private and permissioned Blockchains.
(6) Auditability. Record timestamp and persistent information allow ones to easily verify and trace
previous records through nodes in a Blockchain network. The degree of auditability depends on
types of Blockchain systems and their implementations. Private Blockchains are the least
auditable as nodes are administrated by one entity, permissioned Blockchains come second in
which some agreements, such as encrypted data, may prevent information to be fully auditable,
and public Blockchains are the highest as nodes are truly decentralized.
(7) Closedness and Openness: Opened Blockchains rely on public nodes to maintain records of
transactions. Therefore, anyone can publish a transaction and join the system by following a set
of rules and information inside this Blockchain is public. Permissioned Blockchains are
considered semi-opened as nodes are pre-specified or validated before joining. They lie between
public and private Blockchains. Information inside this Blockchain is controlled by the policies
of the consortium, which can regulate the information to be fully opened, partially opened, or
closed. Like permissioned Blockchains, private Blockchains control how nodes are selected and
the degree of data openness based on policies. However, they rely on a single entity or owner.
3.2. Business Process Characteristics
This section summarizes business process characteristics presented in  as follows.
(1) Transient and Persistent: Business workflow is said to be transient, or ad hoc, if it operates in a
short time basis. In a common use case, the workflow instance terminates when its goals are
accomplished. This characteristic exhibits in the situation where services are abundant and can
be acquired when needed. It frequently interacts with previously unknown and usually
distributed, autonomous, and heterogeneous services in a short period. Persistent workflow on
the other hand repeats processes for the same objectives serveral times. This characteristic can
W. Viriyasitavat/ Journal of Industrial Informatic Integration 1 (2018) xxx–xxx 7
be seen dating back to the old-fashioned business process like in traditional ERP systems such
as payroll and automobile. Persistent characteristic can also be found in modern ERP where the
changes of business workflows are not many, but the services executing workflow tasks may be
(2) Dynamic and Static: A static, or dynamic, workflow is characterized by the change frequency.
During workflow enactment, a static workflow has no change, or a few changes, while a
dynamic workflow is dealing with constant changes throughout its lifetime . In this context,
the changes involve the change in sequences of tasks and branches inside a workflow structure,
or the change of services that deliver functionalities for specific tasks. In opened environments,
the latter brings about an important challenge in the aspect of service selection, composition,
and replacement  as (1) services often reside in different distributed domains where changes
of the services are uncertain, (2) services may provide similar functionalities with different QoS
attributes, and (3) changes can introduce the instability of performance and security.
(3) Workflow Formation and Enactment: A workflow process can be divided in two stages. The
first stage is workflow formation that establishes structure during planning and designing
phrases. This includes activities such as process definitions, workflow structure (sequences of
tasks and branches), service selection and composition, process controls, and analysis models
. The enactment stage occurs during workflow executions. The enactment activities
generally include process scheduling, service interaction, monitoring, and real-time service
evaluation and replacement. In opened environments, workflow enactment usually encounters
dynamicity and uncertainties.
(4) Centralized and Decentralized Management: Centralized workflow management relies on a
single centralized entity responsible for managing services, coordinating workflow tasks, and
enforcing central policies throughout the workflow processes . In the era of cross-
organizational business process where services are available and behave autonomously at
distributed sites, centralized management is not effective. Localizing workflow management
becomes an attractive solution by permitting each service, or a group of services in the form of
consortium, ability to isolate from global policies’ enforcement. However, coalitions of these
services may introduce interoperability problems and trustworthiness of service vendors.
3.3. The Relation of Blockchain and Business Process Characteristics
This section discusses how Blockchain and its characteristics can improve business processes by identifying
their relations to business process characteristics described in the previous section. There are many aspects in
which Blockchain benefits can be realized in business processes.
(1) Transient and Persistent: In either case, business process workflows require services to deliver
functionalities to its internal tasks. There are two aspects of Blockchain technology to improve
business processes that tend to rely on distributed and autonomous services. (1) Trust of
services can be improved when implemented with Blockchain in which persistency, validity,
and auditability can be inherently gained. Identity is necessary in the process of service
selection. (2) Specialized Blockchain systems can be used to maintain QoS attributes of services
and provides accesses to QoS information for service selection purpose. Permissioned
Blockchain is a suitable choice where a group of entities are responsible for maintaining QoS
ledgers. The QoS information can be opened or closed depending on consortium policies.
Private Blockchains are questionable about trust, while public Blockchains face an obstacle
regarding time inconsistency for confirmation settlement (also known as transaction finality).
8 W. Viriyasitavat/ Journal of Industrial Informatic Integration 1 (2018) xxx–xxx
(2) Dynamic and Static: In opened environments, changes are common for businesses to optimize
their processes to achieve better efficiency and cost effectiveness. Modern business processes
become more dynamic and changes are very difficult to solved when multiple organizations are
involved. The dynamicity in the aspect of services has been addressed by trust and QoS that
Blockchain provides. However, changes in internal processes can introduce another trust issue,
when changes from one organization may have cascade effect on another. Cross-organizational
business processes must be opened by manifesting its business logics across involved parties.
To obtain Blockchain benefits for process executions, smart contract can be employed where a
business process can be encoded into smart contract transactions . The business logic is
closed to public but open for involved parties. Permissioned Blockchain fit in this context
where the degree of decentralization varies depending on the number of involved parties.
However, certain degree of persistency, validity, and auditability can be achieved.
(3) Workflow Formation and Enactment: Workflow formation is the stage when business workflow
is constructed with process definitions. Enactment stage involved with process executions at
runtime. When many organizations are involves, Blockchain technology serves two purposes.
(1) It is the repository for business process descriptions that guarantee the correctness of
workflow structure and flow controls. This operation is simple, as we need only a special type
of transaction to record static descriptions. And (2) after a business process workflow is
instantiated as an instance, process executions will be generated and encoded into smart
contracts [66, 67], which guarantee operation validity as specified in the workflow descriptions.
Since smart contract code is deployed and truthfully executed by external actors to change the
state of a Blockchain ledger, abstracting business process descriptions and instances, which are
stored as transactions, will directly gain Blockchain benefits. Specifically, a process workflow
comprising tasks executed by multiple services can be coordinated by smart contracts operating
on a Blockchain infrastructure. It also enables users to track the state of process instances from
a global viewpoint.
(4) Centralized and Decentralized Management: As business processes become more distributed,
centralized workflow management is facing major challenges in meeting the conflicting
requirements of scalability, security, openness, and cost. Interoperation and integration of cross-
organizational business processes rely on distributed, autonomous, and also heterogeneous
services for task executions. However, one security issue of decentralized management is the
trustiness of services, in which Blockchain technology becomes a vital role to establish trust as
already mentioned. In either aspect, centralized management perhaps is able to gain Blockchain
benefits by using private Blockchain configuration, while the configuration of decentralized
management is more opened for either permissioned or public Blockchain.
In summary, cross-organizational business processes frequently involve several enterprises that form
as a consortium. Permissioned Blockchain is a suitable choice for this setting. Since it is Blockchain-
implemented, the benefits including persistency, validity, and auditability can be gained at some level
depending on organizations (nodes) involved in a Blockchain network. The degree of closeness and openness
varies as being mandated by consortium policies and other factors such as local law and regulations. Identity
must be clear for authentication and authorization among involved organizations.
4. Architecture for Blockchain Consensus in Business Processes
There exist multiple consensus protocols in asynchronous environment like the Internet. The selection of a
consensus depends on assumptions and requirements of a system to be implemented. In the context of
business processes, what we have to concern about selecting a consensus is the time used for transactions to
W. Viriyasitavat/ Journal of Industrial Informatic Integration 1 (2018) xxx–xxx 9
be confirmed, known as transaction finality. However, FLP impossibility suggests that only two from three
properties can be achieved in a distributed and asynchronous setting. This becomes problematic when a
business process needs to interact with multiple Blockchain-implemented services.
For example, Bitcoin Proof-of-Work (PoW) and other Proof-of-X (PoX) are probabilistic protocols
that guarantee liveness and fault tolerance but not safety, meaning that nodes might end up having different
views of Blockchain ledger (forks) because of latency in propagation . Therefore, Bitcoin would not
guarantee finality; instead, a transaction will be confirmed after six blocks deep as suggested in , which
takes about sixty minutes. Proof-of-Stake (PoS) is another popular consensus by which participants vote on
new blocks weighted by their amount of currency held in the Blockchain. The leader is randomly elected to
perform Block inclusion. This could cause a problem, as validators have to stake their tokens, which implies
that they have to possess tokens in the system. Practical Byzantine False Tolerance (PBFT) by Castro and
Liskov  is another class of consensus that runs on a system with a partially synchronous setting. It offers
both liveness and safety and also provides some degree of false tolerance where at most [!!!
!] out of total 𝑛
exhibit Byzantine false. However, scalability is a major concern, which polynomially increases, 𝑂(𝑛!), to the
number of nodes.
There are pros and cons on different classes of consensus, which will be impractical for business
process operations. What we concern in the context of business process is time and trust of the nodes who
perform consensus processes. Time in this context is the amount of time between the moment of a transaction
being produced and the moment when it is confirmed. Trust of the nodes is relatively a new issue to be
addressed. In a very distributed setting mostly in public Blockchains, if majority of nodes are benign, the
consensus is inherently trusted. However, permissioned Blockchain involves limited nodes to perform
consensus. Trusting these nodes is unavoidable and perhaps risky. Existing protocols do not allow users to
express their requirements regarding which nodes are authorized, or preferred, to execute for their consensus.
This will be problematic if a Blockchain system contains a group of collusive nodes to produce bias results.
We argue that because business processes can be encoded into smart contracts, the executions of the
contracts should be performed and also reach its consensus by a group of nodes agreed by users (business
partners). Business processes usually involve multiple organizations and Blockchain systems should allow
them to select nodes for performing consensus. The idea is achievable by using Blockchain smart contracts.
Fig 1 illustrates a system architecture. PBFT is chosen as it guarantees safety, liveness, and some
degree of fault tolerance. PoW is impractical since the confirmation settlement is too long and unreliable. The
scalability problem of PBFT is solved since the system allows business partners to agree on the nodes, which
are subset of the node universe in a Blockchain system. In addition, the confirmation settlement is the matter
of milliseconds [23, 49]. This is practical for business process operations especially the time-critical ones.
The architecture is divided into two layers: (1) the business process layer managed by business
management technologies including, business management system, service selection and composition, service
workflow specification languages [50-53, 61-63], and compliance checking [54-58] for real-time monitoring,
and (2) the Blockchain of Business Processes layer where business processes are encoded into smart
contracts. The nodes variable in this smart contract indicates nodes to perform consensus. Any function() with
keyword consensus will notify a Blockchain system about nodes and the system should be implemented to
restrict that only authorized nodes can perform consensus. emit and event keywords are responsible for
logging Blockchain internal consensus operations such as recording a leader from the nodes in each round as
part of PBFT algorithm. Other nodes outside the ones responsible for consensus will receive a block with
validated transaction from the consensus nodes. They will perform validation and chain a new block into their
main chain if everything is correct.
Our intention at this stage is to present an approach in solving problems regarding time inconsistency
and bias that may occur in current consensus mechanisms. The architecture is present and the focal point is
on the Blockchain of Business Processes that encodes business processes into Blockchain smart contracts. In
10 W. Viriyasitavat/ Journal of Industrial Informatic Integration 1 (2018) xxx–xxx
the future, we plan to implement a prototype to realize our architecture and also develop metrics for
Fig. 1. A system architecture for consensus based on selected nodes
Blockchain technology has revealed its great potential to innovate business processes. The properties of
persistency, validity, auditability, and disintermediary that Blockchain offers can greatly improve modern
business processes to achieve digitalization, automation and transparency. However, efforts spent for
integrating Blockchain into business processes is still at infancy. This paper takes an initial step to define
Blockchain and investigates the characteristics of Blockchains with respect to business processes. Then, based
on the characteristics, we propose an architecture consisting of key technologies and guidelines to the
innovation of business processes in Blockchain era. The core elements of our architecture is the use of PBFT
with smart contracts to overcome the problem of time inconsistency regarding confirmation settlement and
also the bias that may arise about nodes responsible for performing consensus. This makes the consensus more
flexible and reliable, which better reacts to user requirements in the area of business process interoperation.
W. Viriyasitavat/ Journal of Industrial Informatic Integration 1 (2018) xxx–xxx 11
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