First time accepted submitter stanga writes "Cornell researchers unveiled an attack on the Bitcoin mining protocol
that enables selfish mining pools to earn more than their fair
share. In a technical
report the authors explain this
attack can be performed by a pool of any size. Rational miners
will join this pool to increase their benefits, creating a snowball
effect that may end up with a pool commanding a majority of the
system's mining power. Such a pool would be able to single-handedly
control the blockchain, violating the decentralized nature of the increasingly
The authors propose a patch to the protocol that would protect the
system from selfish mining pools smaller than 25% of the system. They
also show that Bitcoin can never be safe from selfish mining pools larger
than 33% of the network, whereas it was previously believed that only
groups larger than 50% of the network were a threat to the system.
The question is — can the miners operating today adopt the suggested fix and
dismantle too-large pools before a selfish mining pool arises?"