This work develops a principled approach for coordinating decentralized systems that can exchange information, issue and service requests, and perform outcome-focused actions together. It harnesses the resiliency and robustness offered by blockchain frameworks to enable sustained activity in the presence a diverse set of failure modes, operating constraints, and changing task requirements. We accomplish this through the Tactical Distributed Ledger, a distributed computer that can accommodate a wide range of sensors, agents, vehicles, and devices to create a decentralized system. We have used this framework to deploy a multi-participant system that combines sensing, vehicle mobility, and situational awareness to perform coordinated activities in a simulated city environment. The key mechanism that enables this interaction is a robust auction framework implemented on top of a smart contract blockchain system. This paper details the design, components, and features of the auction system.
The benefits of blockchain technology are evident in the banking industry as the underlying technology for cryptocurrencies. Recently, research has been focused on novel, non-cryptocurrency uses of blockchain for other industries such as national defense. Application of these technologies in military use cases requires special consideration of the limitations inherent to tactical military operations, namely the network communication technologies. In this work we explore the performance of blockchain technologies on network environments representative of those available in Department of Defense (DoD) tactical operations. Our experimentation with the Ethereum blockchain on a mobile network emulation reveals a series of verbose blockchain network communication protocols as well as a heavy reliance on Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) for block transfer and synchronization that may limit the effectiveness of blockchain on current DoD mobile ad hoc networks.