Bitcoin Blockchain Dynamics: the Selfish-Mine Strategy in the Presence of Propagation Delay

Year 2015
Author J. G¨obel, H.P. Keeler, A.E. Krzesinski and P.G. Taylor
Publisher arXiv
Link View Research Paper

Bitcoin / Blockchain / Cryptocurrencies / Mining

In the context of the ‘selfish-mine’ strategy proposed by Eyal and Sirer, we study the effect of propagation delay on the evolution of the Bitcoin blockchain. First, we use a simplified Markov model that tracks the contrasting states of belief about the blockchain of a small pool of miners and the ‘rest of the community’ to establish that the use of block-hiding strategies, such as selfish-mine, causes the rate of production of orphan blocks to increase. Then we use a spatial Poisson process model to study values of Eyal and Sirer’s parameter γ, which denotes the proportion of the honest community that mine on a previously-secret block released by the pool in response to the mining of a block by the honest community. Finally, we use discrete-event simulation to study the behaviour of a network of Bitcoin miners, a proportion of which is colluding in using the selfish-mine strategy, under the assumption that there is a propagation delay in the communication of information between miners.