Could Smart Contract-Based Bribes Threaten Bitcoin Mining Pools?

Could bribery payments issued via smart contract undo the bitcoin mining pool model?

A new research paper outlines a kind of attack against pools in which a malicious actor uses smart contracts, or agreements hard-coded onto a blockchain, to pay miners to essentially stymie their own efforts to solve the cryptographic puzzles at the heart of mining. Mining is an energy-intensive – and competitive – process by which parties race to add the next block of transactions to the network.

The paper, entitled “Smart Contracts Make Bitcoin Mining Pools Vulnerable”, was penned by Yaron Velner of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem; Jason Teutsch of the University of Alabama and Birmingham; and Loi Luu of the National University of Singapore’s School of Computing.

Made available on 7th March, the research posits that, in the right scenario, someone could use smart contracts to guarantee payments to miners who, in that case, would then withhold information from the pools (or large conglomerations of miners) to which they are connected. By doing so, the malicious actor effectively increases their share of any profits relative to the pool’s total hash rate. Conversely, this attack could be deployed to

Read more ... source: CoinDesk

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