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Data trust framework using blockchain and smart contracts



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Lack of trust is the main barrier preventing more widespread data sharing. The lack of transparent and reliable infrastructure for data sharing prevents many data owners from sharing their data. Data trust is a paradigm that facilitates data sharing by forcing data controllers to be transparent about the process of sharing and reusing data. Blockchain technology has the potential to present the essential properties for creating a practical and secure data trust framework by transforming current auditing practices and automatic enforcement of smart contracts logic without relying on intermediaries to establish trust. Blockchain holds an enormous potential to remove the barriers of traditional centralized applications and propose a distributed and transparent administration by employing the involved parties to maintain consensus on the ledger. Furthermore, smart contracts are a programmable component that provides blockchain with more flexible and powerful capabilities. Recent advances in blockchain platforms toward smart contracts' development have revealed the possibility of implementing blockchain-based applications in various domains, such as health care, supply chain and digital identity. This dissertation investigates the blockchain's potential to present a framework for data trust. It starts with a comprehensive study of smart contracts as the main component of blockchain for developing decentralized data trust. Interrelated, three decentralized applications that address data sharing and access control problems in various fields, including healthcare data sharing, business process, and physical access control system, have been developed and examined. In addition, a general-purpose application based on an attribute-based access control model is proposed that can provide trusted auditability required for data sharing and access control systems and, ultimately, a data trust framework. Besides auditing, the system presents a transparency level that both access requesters (data users) and resource owners (data controllers) can benefit from. The proposed solutions have been validated through a use case of independent digital libraries. It also provides a detailed performance analysis of the system implementation. The performance results have been compared based on different consensus mechanisms and databases, indicating the system's high throughput and low latency. Finally, this dissertation presents an end-to-end data trust framework based on blockchain technology. The proposed framework promotes data trustworthiness by assessing input datasets, effectively managing access control, and presenting data provenance and activity monitoring. A trust assessment model that examines the trustworthiness of input data sets and calculates the trust value is presented. The number of transaction validators is defined adaptively with the trust value. This research provides solutions for both data owners and data users’ by ensuring the trustworthiness and quality of the data at origin and transparent and secure usage of the data at the end. A comprehensive experimental study indicates the presented system effectively handles a large number of transactions with low latency.



trust, blockchain, smart contracts, access control, distributed



Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


Computer Science


Computer Science


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