The Bitcoin ecosystem: mining pools take offense when feel under attack - study

Thursday 8 January 2015 11:04 CET | News

Bitcoin mining pools fight back when they experience serious attacks from other counterparts, recent findings highlight.

Moreover, the mining pools can only cooperate peacefully provided that individual miners regularly switch pools, according to a research paper called `When Bitcoin Mining Pools Run Dry` and issued by Aron Laszka, Benjamin Johnson and Jens Grossklags. If individual miners do not switch pools or are under attack, then mining pools are mostly inclined to attack each other, reports.

The paper uses the game theory to look at the impact of attacks between two theoretical mining pools. One pool is deemed more attractive than the other, whereby myriad factors like fees, technical structure or public relations savvy find it well-regarded among miners and investors.

Pools may spend resources on productive or destructive investments. In the former, a pool would add to its overall computing power, trying to beat competitors. A destructive investment, in turn, could come in the form of a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack on a rival that reduces that entitys computing power. The authors devised a game consisting of two players: a bigger mining pool and a smaller pool. In each round of the game, the pools can either attack each other or not. Over time, the size of each pool should be affected by the attacks, as miners choose to migrate from one pool to another.

In case of mining pool attacks, the attack will probably come from the less attractive pool. This is because the less attractive pool has more to gain from an attack, whereas the more attractive pool has less reason to change the status quo. Conversely, when one pool is highly attractive to miners and the other is not, less attractive entity, which is susceptible to attacks, would drive miners to process blocks in their corner of the network. The attack scenarios contain a silver lining for the Bitcoin network, as such actions can act as a regulating force that keeps hashing power distributed.

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Keywords: Bitcoin, mining pools, offense, attack, susceptible, blockchain, study, cooperation, miner switch, computational power
Categories: DeFi & Crypto & Web3
Countries: World
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DeFi & Crypto & Web3

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