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Consensus formation on heterogeneous networks

Reaching consensus -- a macroscopic state where the system constituents display the same microscopic state -- is a necessity in multiple complex socio-technical and techno-economic systems: their correct functioning ultimately depends on it. In many distributed systems -- of which blockchain-based applications are a paradigmatic example -- the process of consensus formation is crucial not only for the emergence of a leading majority but for the very functioning of the system. We build a minimalistic network model of consensus formation on blockchain systems for quantifying how central nodes -- with respect to their average distance to others -- can leverage on their position to obtain competitive advantage in the consensus process. We show that in a wide range of network topologies, the probability of forming a majority can significantly increase depending on the centrality of nodes that initiate the spreading. Further, we study the role that network topology plays on the consensus process: we show that central nodes in scale-free networks can win consensus in the network even if they broadcast states significantly later than peripheral ones.