Block-VN: A Distributed
Communication and Storage System
Hassan Farooq1, Muhammad Usman Arshad1, Muhammad Faraz Akhtar2,
Shahid Abbas1, Bilal Zahid2, and Nadeem Javaid1(B
1Department of Computer Science, COMSATS University,
Islamabad 44000, Pakistan
2Computer Science, Government College University, Faisalabad, Pakistan
Abstract. Internet of vehicles (IoVs) are connected with each other
through Internet. In recent years, IoV provides security mechanisms and
quick information sharing schemes, etc. The rapid growth of IoV causes
various challenges including data storage, intelligent transport system,
selﬁshness of nodes, distrusted nodes and sensor’s data leakage of infor-
mation. To overcome data storage and delay in services, a decentral-
ized, distributed, secure, transparent and scalable management system
is proposed using blockchain technology. Provable data possession (PDP)
scheme is used to validate the new data blocks. Message transfer pro-
cess argon2 (MTP-Argon2) technique is used for data ﬁltration. Using
this technique, the raw data are ﬁltered to remove the duplicate and
unnecessary data which are obtained from diﬀerent nodes. Data storage,
less delay in service request or response, more sensor’s data sharing and
secure communication channel are achieved using proposed system.
Keywords: Blockchain vehicular network ·Internet of Things ·
Internet of vehicle ·Scalable ·Provable data possession
Nowadays, smart vehicles (SVs) are eﬃcient, faster and secure due to diﬀerent
features, such as automatic braking system, low fuel consumption, automatic
driving system and electronic control units (ECUs), etc. The smart vehicle man-
ufacturers are introducing not only physical vehicle design, they are also intro-
ducing the new functionalities which facilitate the drivers. These functionalities
are achieved using vehicle’s ECUs having hundreds of megabytes of code. When
these SVs are connected with each other through the Internet, it becomes an
internet of vehicles (IoVs) network. There are numerous new protocols and safety
devices in SVs such as automatic emergency braking, forward collision warnings
and vast communication network, etc. Intelligent transport system (ITS) uses
Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020
L. Barolli et al. (Eds.): BWCCA 2019, LNNS 97, pp. 56–66, 2020.
Block-VN: Eﬃcient Communication and Storage System 57
ad-hoc networks for communication of SVs, such as wireless access vehicular
environment (WAVE), dedicated short range communication (DSRC) and cel-
lular network, etc., however, these networks do not ensure data transmission
. ITS also provide diﬀerent sensory information, traﬃc road safety informa-
tion and low to high congestion information for services. SVs gather information
from diﬀerent sources and process the information either by sending it to central
server or locally. A huge amount of data is generated through SVs, road side units
(RSUs), sensors and Internet of things (IoT) devices, which is stored on central
servers causes the traﬃc load and low storage. As the traﬃc load is increased
with the increase in large amount of SV’s data, it is diﬃcult to handle it on a
centralized server. It is also diﬃcult to secure and store all information obtained
from diﬀerent information providers like SVs, RSUs and cellular devices, etc.
When artiﬁcial intelligence is combined with IoV, it can produce inﬁnite
possibilities. When numerous SVs share their services with each other, the tra-
ditional centralized system will encounter diﬀerent challenges like data storage,
data security and communication delay. Therefore, distributed and decentralized
data storage management is required in the future to overcome these issues. The
high security is required for data storage and communication with other vehicles
or service providers when the decentralized system is adopted.
Blockchain technology is the decentralized approach used to solve the afore-
mentioned problems. Blockchain is a distributed ledger that contains all infor-
mation of nodes. Every node contains a duplicate copy of the ledger and when
any transaction occurs, it ﬁrst validated by all miner nodes then added in the
blockchain. In a distributed system, nodes do not have to trust each other
because all nodes have a shared copy of the ledger. Each information of data
is stored in a block which is validated by miner nodes having high computation
power. Each block contains a previous hash, current hash, nonce and timestamp.
Blockchain technology solves high computational problem, data encryption, dis-
tributed consensus and insecure data storage which are common problems in
centralized systems. With the rapid growth of blockchain technology, it is used
in wireless sensor networks, intelligent vehicles, smart grids and deep underwater
sensor networks, etc.
The main challenging issues in the rapid growth of data are lack of distrust
and insecure communication among SVs. In IoV network, SVs cannot commu-
nicate with each other without compromise of trust. Yang et al. use blockchain
in a distributed network as it is being considered as more secure for the data
credibility vehicular network . It provides data security mechanism based on
ITS standards. Due to increase in data packet size of SVs, the latency of message
and waiting time is increased which aﬀects the whole vehicular network. Some
SVs receive the data from other vehicles and become a selﬁsh node and do not
share the sensor data.
To overcome all the above mention issues, a scalable, secure, transparent and
distributed system is proposed for data storage mechanism based on blockchain
vehicular network (Block-VN). Provable data possession (PDP) scheme is used
to validate the new data blocks. Message transfer process argon2 (MTP-Argon2)
58 H. Farooq et al.
technique is used for data ﬁltration. Using this technique, the raw data are ﬁl-
tered to remove the duplicate and unnecessary data which are obtained from dif-
ferent nodes. Data storage, less delay in the service request or response and secure
communication channel are achieved using a proposed system. Local blockchain
stores vehicles sensory data for a limited time. The main blockchain contains all
local blockchain data, RSUs data and all types of service records.
The rest of the paper is structured as follows: Sect. 2reviews the related work
and literature. Section 3presents the motivation. Section 4presents the problem
statement. Section 5presents the distributed Block-VN system model. Finally,
Sect. 6concludes this work.
2 Related Work
2.1 Blockchain in Smart Grid
The main challenging issues in smart grid are scheduling and optimization
of manageable devices. They have not enough power production to fulﬁll the
requirement of consumers. Electricity trading is distribution of energy with
wholesale energy market which is centralized. In distributed renewable energy
system, energy supply and trading are based on trusted third party.
The authors in  used centralized approaches which are costly in compu-
tation and communication with diﬀerent devices. The authors in  used smart
metering and IoT to collects transfer data between diﬀerent entities using diﬀer-
ent communication techniques. In , authors used concept of game theory on
base of incentives and penalties. The authors in  proposed decentralized mar-
ket based on blockchain. It fulﬁlls the needs of energy consumption for end users
in transparent and user-friendly applications. In , the authors proposed fair
data sharing in deregulated smart gird using blockchain. In , the proposed
blockchain-based electricity demand and supply balancing. In , the authors
proposed decentralized, secure and trusted electricity trading using consortium
To overcome aforementioned problems, a decentralized blockchain is pro-
posed for authorization, authentication and monitoring of diﬀerent power volt-
ages. Hyper-ledger consensus algorithm is used to manage the accounts of con-
sumer to done eﬃcient power trading. However, there are some limitations in
above proposed models: traditional power trading, power transaction cost and
supervisory utility constraint mechanisms are not considered, which can decide
the pricing scheme of power supply and demand.
2.2 Blockchain in Wireless Sensor Network
The main challenging issue in wireless sensor network is that a huge amount of
data is produced which is stored at central network and very diﬃcult to manage.
Device-to-device (D2D) network is used to manage the user access control and
dynamic power with cellular users. These IoT devices have limited storage so they
Block-VN: Eﬃcient Communication and Storage System 59
cannot manage their own resources and single point of failure can breakdown
the network. The mobile operator can only trust on narrow-band IoT (NB-IoT)
network which has high cost of deployment and licensed spectrum resources.
In , IoT virtual resources using diﬀerent IoT components is proposed
in wireless sensor network. In , the authors described user friendly network
which processes, collects, and maintains data easily and also provides incen-
tive mechanism for data storage. In , the authors elaborated dynamic power
control mechanism to control D2D data transmissions. In [13,14], the authors
proposed node recovery scheme in WSN using blockchain technology. In , the
authors proposed blockchain-based smart networks to analyze and secure data.
In , the authors proposed blockchain-based complex networks to achieve
energy eﬃciency and trustfulness. In , the authors proposed blockchain
based analyzing and monetization of data. In , virtual extensible LAN based
blockchain is used in tunnels to enhance the security and performance mecha-
nism. In , constrained application protocol (CoAP) is proposed that manages
the data of these devices on centralized server. To overcome these issues, long
range wide area network (LoRaWAN) provides long range and secure network
for mobile operators at low cost using blockchain based trusted servers. D2D
mechanism is used for authentication of each user by channel state information
(CSI) using consensus blockchain technology. Software deﬁned networks (SDNs)
is based on blockchain which improves performance based scalable access man-
agement for IoT devices.
However, there are some limitations in aforementioned models. They can-
not provide a fully-scaled network to link servers, gateways and customers.
The recovery of damaged nodes with failure rate is also a challenging issue in
request of data. They cannot be applied and achieved in reality to get spec-
tral highest eﬃciency due to large consumption of resources. Shared network
asset approaches realized the multi-signature smart contract which integrates
the consistency issue.
2.3 Blockchain in Intelligent of Vehicle
The main challenging issue in IoV and IoT devices is generation of huge data
rapidly. So, it builds insecure and distrust among vehicles. In , the authors
used blockchain in distributed network as it is being considered as more secure for
the data credibility vehicular network. In , peer-to-peer (P2P) mechanism to
communicate among vehicles. In intelligent vehicles, they cannot communicate
with each other without compromise of trust.
To overcome these problems, intelligent vehicle network is proposed based on
blockchain. It also provides security mechanism based on ITS standard. Authors
used combination of proof of work (PoW) and proof of authority (PoA) consen-
sus mechanism to ﬁnd the malicious vehicles and build the trust among them.
However, there are some limitations in existing model for exchanging of traﬃc
information services. Due to increase in data packet size of vehicles, the latency
of message and rating are increased that aﬀects the whole vehicular network.
60 H. Farooq et al.
IoV technology is increasing rapidly with the increase in population and devel-
opment. It has capability to share and exchange information with diﬀerent IoVs
using IoT devices . Due to increase in IoV, it is expected that there are lack
of wide roads, ineﬃcient communication channel and low storage mechanisms to
tackle rapid increase of data problem. IoV cannot trust with each other due to
selﬁshness of nodes. To overcome these issues, authors in  proposed an archi-
tecture of distributed scalable access management system based on blockchain.
It stores all distributed data on decentralized servers which reduce the storage
In , authors proposed decentralized, secure and reliable distributed trans-
port management system based on blockchain for vehicular network. It stores all
type of information and services from sensors, vehicles and computing devices.
The stored information manages scalability, security and transparency. In ,
authors proposed secure blockchain-enabled IoV using reputation and contract
theory. It encourages the IoV to share data with each other. The IoV nodes gets
more incentive which provide valid sensor’s data while the IoV nodes have to
pay penalty, which do not share valid sensor’s data. Reputation of IoV nodes are
evaluated on the basis of historical interaction either valid or invalid response and
recommended opinions either positive and negative rating from other IoV nodes.
In [25–28], authors proposed blockchain-based secure network service provision-
ing for lightweight clients. They introduce service providers and service codes
to be validated on-chain transaction which helps to reduce the overhead of data
from diﬀerent IoT devices. They also introduce oﬀ-chain transaction to maintain
the validity states of services.
4 Problem Statement
The development of IoV network is originated from smart vehicles such as driver-
less cars. Nowadays, IoV have been applied in many smart cities to control traﬃc,
enhance driving aids and environment. Due to increase in population, IoV net-
works are increasing day-to-day. To manage the large network, it faces diﬀerent
challenges such as communication delay, low data storage, selﬁshness of nodes,
distrusted nodes and high congestion, etc. To overcome these challenges, authors
in  proposed transport management system based on blockchain. In this sys-
tem, ordinary nodes collect local sensor’s data and upload on controller node
through miner nodes. The proposed system can easily resolves the high conges-
tion problem. However, due to constantly uploading duplicated or unnecessary
ordinary node’s data on controller node, the system can face low storage man-
agement issue which causes high communication delay in request and response
To overcome these issues, we propose a scalable, secure, transparent and dis-
tributed system for data storage mechanism based on Block-VN. The new data
blocks are validated using PDP scheme. For data ﬁltration, MTP-Argon2 tech-
nique is used. It ﬁlters the obtained raw data from diﬀerent nodes to remove the
Block-VN: Eﬃcient Communication and Storage System 61
duplicated and unnecessary data. Data storage, less delay in the service request
or response, more sensor’s data sharing and secure communication channel are
achieved using proposed system.
5 Proposed System Model of Distributed Block-VN
By getting motivation from existing model in , a Block-VN for smart IoV
is proposed. In Fig. 1, there are three types of nodes: ordinary nodes are SVs,
miner nodes having high computational power shown in red circle; and controller
nodes are static base stations. Ordinary nodes have low storage, low battery life,
low computing power and less resources. These nodes are connected with other
ordinary and miner nodes to request services. These nodes can directly request
for services with controller node, if there is no ordinary or miner node near
to request services. Miner nodes have high storage, high computing power and
high resources as compared to ordinary node. The purpose of miner nodes is to
get request from ordinary nodes and provide valid services. All miner nodes are
connected with each other to share services. They store all road side information,
traﬃc information, ordinary nodes information, environmental information and
performance of vehicles through diﬀerent sensors like global positioning system
(GPS), event data recorder (EDR), radio handset, small-scale radar, cameras
and various kind of detection devices. Controller nodes are connected with cloud
server and miner nodes. These nodes are connected P2P with other controller
nodes. They provide the necessary information to all miners and ordinary nodes
on large scale. They store the information of whole area provided by miner nodes.
Cloud server gathers ﬁltered information and services from all controller nodes.
5.1 Proposed Model of Miner Node
Each miner node has three main types of classiﬁcation assets: computing, sensors
and data storage. Each miner node has public local blockchain which contains
all these assets shown in Fig. 2. It shares the duplicate copy of stored services to
other miner nodes. IoV authority has all records of miner and ordinary nodes.
When new service request is generated, it must be validated before stored in
local blockchain. The service request is also sent to IoV authority which checks
from stored record that either the given request is valid or not.
There are diﬀerent types of services which are provided by miner nodes
like road accident, traﬃc blockage, sensor data of ordinary nodes and service
sharing of data, etc. For example, miner nodes searches the services from local
blockchain, if ordinary node wants the data of weather or traﬃc. If the required
service is not found, then it requests the controller node to give response back
to ordinary node. Miner nodes have low storage, low computing power and less
sensor capabilities as compared to controller node. At some point, the storage of
miner nodes will become full due constant storing of data from other ordinary
and miner nodes.
62 H. Farooq et al.
Fig. 1. Proposed system model for blockchain based vehicular network.
To overcome this issue, we got motivation from existing ﬂowchart in 
and propose a storage mechanism which sets the time limit and blocks limit
on local blockchain. After this step, new data blocks are created and stored on
local blockchain. When the storage of local blockchain is full, minor node stores
the previous blocks’ data on controller node and deletes all blocks’ data of local
blockchain. In ﬂowchart of local blockchain in Fig. 2, we assumed that the total
time limit (M) of stored blocks is 24-hours. The total number of blocks (N)
created in one hour is 100. The ﬁrst block of local blockchain is genesis block
(B0). When SV shares information with miner node, new data block is created
by miner node and stored in memory cell of local blockchain. After one hour, the
100 memory-cell slot is full, then it shifts all data blocks to controller node and
delete previous data blocks from its memory cells. In this way, the data storage
issue of IoV is optimized and 24-hours of data is stored in the controller nodes.
5.2 Proposed Model of Controller Node
Each controller node is connected in distributed and static manner to provide
services such as road traﬃc, routes, charging stations, etc. These services are
stored and provided to all miners and ordinary nodes. Each controller node has
public main blockchain ledger as shown in Fig. 3. Each controller node shares
duplicate main blockchain ledger’s data to all other controller nodes. All received
Block-VN: Eﬃcient Communication and Storage System 63
Fig. 2. Proposed system model of miner node and ﬂowchart of local blockchain.
raw data from miner node can process and necessary data is stored in main
blockchain. Controller nodes are responsible to provides all necessary data to
miner or ordinary nodes. Cloud server gathers ﬁltered information and services
from all controller nodes.
When ordinary nodes are moving from one place to another, they require nec-
essary information like traﬃc signal data, traﬃc blockage, which path is shortest
path and less time consuming, number of vehicles in their path, how much far the
charging station if they have low battery, etc. All these types of informations are
stored in miner nodes and controller nodes. IoV simply requests to its neighbor
nodes which is either miner or ordinary node. If it cannot respond to its request,
then it direct request to controller node. Controller node provides services to
the IoV node. If IoV can request public data (which is: traﬃc on road, charging
station and environment condition) then it cannot pays any cryptocurrency fee.
However, if it requires private data (which is: vehicle moving position, video of
road condition) it must have to pays the fee of speciﬁc data which is sets on the
basis of smart contract. All the set of rules are written in programmatic form
which are validated by all controller nodes. When smart contract is triggered,
the new block is created in main blockchain. In ﬂowchart of main blockchain,
the work-ﬂow is as follow.
First, IoV sends the sensor node’s data to miner node for storage. Miner
node checks the received data. If the data is same as previous one, then it
will send “unnecessary data” message back to IoV node. If the data is new,
necessary and important for other nodes, it starts processing and combining the
data in blocks. When miner node’s storage is full, it transfers all raw data to
controller node and delete all the previous memory slot data. The raw data is
then ﬁltered using MTP-Argon2 technique, which reduces the data by removing
64 H. Farooq et al.
duplicate and unnecessary data. In this technique, we deﬁned the threshold
value which contains the required information that is set on the basis of our
scenario. For example, if only accident detections traﬃc state on road is required,
then a threshold value is assigned and than compared with the raw data. If the
compared data matches with threshold value then it adds the information and
continue comparing. At last, we have ﬁltered data that is transfered for validation
to controller node.
For validation, we use PDP consensus technique which ensure the integrity of
stored data. It reduces the mining and computing power to validate the new data
block. By using this technique, request or response delay of services are eﬃciently
decreased. Due to decrease in delay, vehicles can eﬃciently communicate with
each other and gain low latency. After validation process, blocks are created
which contain previous hash, current hash, timestamp, Merkel root data and
signature value. After that, blocks are uploaded in main blockchain and provide
services to requester nodes and also uploaded in cloud server for further use in
Fig. 3. Proposed system model of controller node and ﬂowchart of main blockchain.
In this paper, we observed that as the number of IoV increases, an eﬃcient com-
munication channel is required to share information with each other. There is a
need of secure and improved storage mechanism to store all sensors information.
A Block-VN model for smart IoV is proposed. We improved the storage and
communication mechanism of existing system which increases the storage opti-
mization and capacity using local blockchain and decreases the communication
delay using cloud server. Due to these improvements, our Block-VN is secure,
distributed, decentralized, scalable, trusted and transparent using blockchain.
Block-VN: Eﬃcient Communication and Storage System 65
In future work, we will increase the size of vehicular network in diﬀerent areas.
We will improve the delay time and response of services. The storage problem
remains a big issue because the number of IoV nodes or SVs are increasing day-
to-day. We need an eﬃcient detection and security mechanism for malicious IoV
nodes or SVs that share invalid or wrong information to other IoV nodes.
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