[Bitcoin-development] Economics of information propagation

Ashley Holman dscvlt at gmail.com
Mon Apr 21 15:40:48 UTC 2014

On Mon, Apr 21, 2014 at 1:36 PM, Peter Todd <pete at petertodd.org> wrote:
> That is mistaken: you can't mine on top of just a block header, leaving
> small miners disadvantaged as they are earning no profit while they wait
> for the information to validate the block and update their UTXO sets. This
> results in the same problem as before, as the large pools who mine most
> blocks can validate either instantly - the self-mine case - or more quickly
> than the smaller miners.
Under the headers first scenario, wouldn't the full block still reach
everyone in the same time as it would under the current rules?  So the
small miner loses nothing in terms of updating their UTXO set, but gains an
early "heads up" alert that a new block is coming.  This allows them spend
the propagation time working more productively on an empty block in the new
chain rather than wasting time on an orphan.  It's true that it doesn't
solve the problem of larger pools vs smaller pools, but if it doesn't make
it any worse then headers-first propagation would be a net benefit to the
network since it removes the incentive to make small blocks.
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