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

Alexander Leishman leishman3 at gmail.com
Mon Jun 18 18:47:40 UTC 2018

Well miners already regularly mine empty blocks. However, it is usually in
the economic interest of the miners to collect transaction fees. This
incentive should hopefully be enough to prevent miners from choosing to
produce many empty blocks.

If a nation state attacker decides to allocate billions in resources to
attack Bitcoin, then that is a bigger discussion. The risk there is
double-spends, not empty blocks.


On Mon, Jun 18, 2018 at 11:39 AM Артём Литвинович via bitcoin-dev <
bitcoin-dev at lists.linuxfoundation.org> wrote:

> 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?
> -Artem
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