[Bitcoin-development] Double-Spending Fast Payments in Bitcoin due to Client versions 0.8.1

Gregory Maxwell gmaxwell at gmail.com
Thu Jun 27 16:13:58 UTC 2013

On Thu, Jun 27, 2013 at 9:03 AM, Arthur Gervais
<arthur.gervais at inf.ethz.ch> wrote:
> affecting the same Bitcoin version. However we think it is
> complementary, since our reported problem has nothing to do with fees,
> dust, nor is it necessary to send the two double-spending transaction at
> the same time. In our setting, double-spending still works if the second
> transaction is sent after minutes (and the first transaction has not yet
> been included into a block).

It works just the same for dust based or any other criteria that makes
transactions non-standard— including the double spending working if
the second transaction is sent minutes after. Exactly the same code is
executed and the same behavior observed for any case of a non-standard
transaction being used to achieve inconsistent forwarding.

> Our only intention is to raise the awareness for merchants who have to
> accept zero-confirmation transactions.

That is great and I'm certainly glad to see people doing that.

Though take care it that your focus on signature encoding differences
doesn't create a misunderstanding. This isn't only an issue with these
particular versions: There is always mining and relay behavior
inhomogeneity in the network. The level of inhomogeneity changes over
time— I believe its greatest when new reference client software that
changes IsStandard but it is never zero as there are large miners with
customized acceptance rules (also mempool state also creates
inhomogeneity). The greater inhomogeneity results in higher success
rates which may be important since some service could conceivable only
be profitable exploited with a high enough success rate.

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