[Bitcoin-development] Double-spending unconfirmed transactions is a lot easier than most people realise

Simon Barber simon at superduper.net
Thu Apr 24 00:42:20 UTC 2014

Miners earn bitcoins, and clearly a network where reasonable certainty 
can be achieved with 0-confirm transactions is more useful, thus will 
result in those bitcoins being more valuable. One would expect rational 
miners (or pool operators) to want to collaborate to reduce the 
possibilities for double spend attacks as much as possible.


On 4/23/2014 3:29 PM, Tom Harding wrote:
> On 4/22/2014 9:03 PM, Matt Whitlock wrote:
>> On Tuesday, 22 April 2014, at 8:45 pm, Tom Harding wrote:
>>> A network where transaction submitters consider their (final)
>>> transactions to be unchangeable the moment they are transmitted, and
>>> where the network's goal is to confirm only transactions all of whose
>>> UTXO's have not yet been seen in a final transaction's input, has a
>>> chance to be such a network.
>> Respectfully, this is not the goal of miners. The goal of miners is to maximize profits. Always will be. If they can do that by enabling replace-by-fee (and they can), then they will. Altruism does not factor into business.
> The rational miner works hard digging hashes out of the ether, and wants
> the reward to be great.  How much more valuable would his reward be if
> he were paid in something that is spendable like cash on a 1-minute
> network for coffee and other innumerable real-time transactions, versus
> something that is only spendable on a 15-minute network?
> There is a prisoner's dilemma, to be sure, but do the fees from helping
> people successfully double-spend their coffee supplier really outweigh
> the increased value to the entire network - including himself - of
> ensuring that digital cash actually works like cash?
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