Reinforcement learning in blockchain-enabled IIoT networks: A survey of recent advances and open challenges

Furqan Jameel*, Uzair Javaid, Wali Ullah Khan, Muhammad Naveed Aman, Haris Pervaiz, Riku Jäntti

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview Articlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)
34 Downloads (Pure)


Blockchain is emerging as a promising candidate for the uberization of Internet services. It is a decentralized, secure, and auditable solution for exchanging, and authenticating information via transactions, without the need of a trusted third party. Therefore, blockchain technology has recently been integrated with industrial Internet-of-things (IIoT) networks to help realize the fourth industrial revolution, Industry 4.0. Though blockchain-enabled IIoT networks may have the potential to support the services and demands of next-generation networks, the gap analysis presented in this work highlights some of the areas that need improvement. Based on these observations, the article then promotes the utility of reinforcement learning (RL) techniques to address some of the major issues of blockchain-enabled IIoT networks such as block time minimization and transaction throughput enhancement. This is followed by a comprehensive case study where a Q-learning technique is used for minimizing the occurrence of forking events by reducing the transmission delays for a miner. Extensive simulations have been performed and the results have been obtained for the average transmission delay which relates to the forking events. The obtained results demonstrate that the Q-learning approach outperforms the greedy policy while having a reasonable level of complexity. To further develop the blockchain-enabled IIoT networks, some future research directions are also documented. While this article highlights the applications of RL techniques in blockchain-enabled IIoT networks, the provided insights and results could pave the way for rapid adoption of blockchain technology.

Original languageEnglish
Article number5161
Number of pages22
JournalSustainability (Switzerland)
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2020
MoE publication typeA2 Review article in a scientific journal


  • Blockchain
  • Industrial internet-of-things (IIoT)
  • Industry 4.0
  • Q-learning
  • Reinforcement learning (RL)

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Reinforcement learning in blockchain-enabled IIoT networks: A survey of recent advances and open challenges'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this