Journal of Computer Science and Technology ›› 2022, Vol. 37 ›› Issue (1): 266-276.doi: 10.1007/s11390-021-0583-x

Special Issue: Computer Networks and Distributed Computing

• Regular Paper • Previous Articles    

A Blockchain-Based Protocol for Malicious Price Discrimination

Li-De Xue1 (薛立德), Ya-Jun Liu2 (刘亚军), Wei Yang1,* (杨威), Member, IEEE, Wei-Lin Chen1 (陈蔚林), and Liu-Sheng Huang1 (黄刘生), Member, IEEE        

  1. 1School of Computer Science and Technology, University of Science and Technology of China, Hefei 230000, China
    2Information Department, the First Affiliated Hospital of Soochow University, Suzhou 215000, China
  • Received:2020-05-06 Revised:2021-12-01 Accepted:2021-12-29 Online:2022-01-28 Published:2022-01-28
  • Contact: Wei Yang
  • About author:Wei Yang is an associate professor in School of Computer Science and Technology at the University of Science and Technology of China, Hefei. In 2007, he received his Ph.D. degree in computer science from University of Science and Technology of China, Hefei, and was awarded the Dean's Prize of Chinese Academy of Sciences. His research interests include information security, quantum information and wireless networks. He has authored or co-authored over 120 technical papers in major international journals and conferences. In 2014, he got the Natural Science Award of Ministry of Education of People's Republic of China. In 2016, he won the Best Paper Award at ACM UbiComp.
  • Supported by:
    This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China under Grant No.62172385, and the Anhui Initiative in Quantum Information Technologies under Grant No.AHY150300.

Serious price discrimination emerges with the development of big data and mobile networks, which harms the interests of consumers. To solve this problem, we propose a blockchain-based price consensus protocol to solve the malicious price discrimination faced by consumers. We give a mathematical definition of price discrimination, which requires the system to satisfy consistency and timeliness. The distributed blockchain can make the different pricing of merchants transparent to consumers, thus satisfying the consistency. The aging window mechanism of our protocol ensures that there is no disagreement between any node on the consensus on price or price discrimination within a fixed period, which meets the timeliness. Moreover, we evaluate its performance through a prototype implementation and experiments with up to 100 user nodes. Experimental results show that our protocol achieves all the expected goals like price transparency, consistency, and timeliness, and it additionally guarantees the consensus of the optimal price with a high probability.

Key words: blockchain; digital economy; distributed application; price discrimination; price transparency;

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