Boros: Secure Cross-Channel Transfers via Channel Hub

Yongjie Ye, Jingjing Zhang, Weigang Wu, Xiapu Luo

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review


The payment channel, which allows two parties to perform micropayments without involving the blockchain, has become a promising proposal to improve the scalability of decentralized ledgers such as Bitcoin and Ethereum. Payment channels have been extended to the payment network, through which users can utilize existing channels as intermediary links to route coins to others. However, routing payments through multiple channels bears nontrivial overheads. It requires every intermediary channel to lock a portion of its available capacity until the payment is settled. This may lead to deadlock in a concurrent situation. The intermediary nodes in a payment path may also charge fees for routing a payment. The longer the routing path, the more serious the above problems.
In this paper, we design and develop a novel off-chain system to shorten the routing path for the payment network. In particular, we propose the channel hub, which is an extension of the payment hub, to allows transferring coins directly from one payment channel to another within the same hub. That is, the channel hub can be viewed as a shortcut device for the underlying payment network. We design a new protocol named Boros to perform secure off-chain cross-channel transfers through the channel hub. We not only present the security definition of the Boros protocol formally but also prove its security using the UC-framework. To demonstrate the feasibility of the Boros protocol, we develop a proof-of-concept prototype running on the Ethereum. Our evaluation shows that our system can effectively shorten the off-chain routing path.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)407-421
JournalIEEE Transactions on Dependable and Secure Computing
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 29 Nov 2019


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