[bitcoin-dev] Miner dilution attack on Bitcoin - is that something plausible?

Артём Литвинович theartlav at gmail.com
Mon Jun 18 18:34:37 UTC 2018

Dilution is a potential attack i randomly came up with in a Twitter
arguement and couldn't find any references to or convincing arguments of it
being implausible.

Suppose a malicious actor were to acquire a majority of hash power, and
proceed to use that hash power to produce valid, but empty blocks.

As far as i understand it, this would effectively reduce the block rate by
half or more and since nodes can't differentiate block relay and block
production there would be nothing they can do to adjust difficulty or black
list the attacker.

At a rough estimate of $52 per TH equipment cost (Antminer pricing) and
12.5 BTC per 10 minutes power cost we are looking at an order of $2 billion
of equipment and $0.4 billion a month of power costs (ignoring block
reward) to maintain an attack - easily within means of even a minor
government-scale actor.

Is that a plausible scenario, or am i chasing a mirage? If it is plausible,
what could be done to mitigate it?

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