Has anything changed in the Bitcoin protocol to address the Selfish Mining strategy?
A few months ago, a Bitcoin mining strategy was described that could be carried out by a pool with a relatively small share of the network's hash power. The strategy, Selfish Mining, was claimed to be capable of significantly increasing the block reward of a pool engaged in the practice. This idea generated a lot of attention and discussion. The rise of pools commanding hashrates consistently around 25% or above for extended periods of time gives new context for the Selfish Mining strategy. I'm not here to discuss the probability of the strategy being successfully used. Instead, I'm asking about what, if anything, has changed in the Bitcoin protocol since the strategy was described to address it. The Selfish Mining paper describes a backward-compatible countermeasure in the section labelled "Solution":
We propose a simple, backwards-compatible change to the Bitcoin protocol to address this problem and raise the threshold. ...
The paper goes on to describe the solution. Has this (or some other solution) since been implemented? Edit: grammar, percentages
Texas Bitcoin Mining Startup Gets $50 Million From Peter Thiel to Steal China’s Crypto Crown
When it comes to producing Bitcoin, China is the pre-eminent power in the world. The People’s Republic boasts the largest mining companies, and dominates the manufacture of chips and other equipment used to mine Bitcoin. A U.S. startup wants to change all that with a bold plan to make Texas the global hub of Bitcoin mining. On Tuesday, San Francisco-based Layer1 announced it has raised $50 million from billionaire Peter Thiel and others to move forward with its plan, which includes running its own power sub-station and purchasing solar and wind energy produced on the plains of West Texas. According to co-founder Alex Liegl, Layer1’s facility will consist of dozens of acres that lie 150 miles west of Midland, Texas—”literally in the middle of nowhere”—and will rely on a proprietary new technology for cooling the chips used to mine Bitcoin. Bitcoin mining, which consumes large amounts of electricity, typically takes place in colder areas where it is easier to prevent equipment from overheating. Layer1, however, believes its cooling technology will make Texas a viable location despite the heat. The state also offers additional benefits in the form of light regulation and cheap power. One Bitcoin is currently worth around $8,300—well off its all time of nearly $20,000 in late 2017 but still much higher than 2016 when it traded as low as $300. Under Bitcoin’s mining system, miners compete to win an award distributed every ten minutes or so. Currently, the reward is 12.5 Bitcoins—a figure that will halve to 6.25 next May. Liegl says Layer1 aspires to be the biggest Bitcoin miner in the world by controlling all aspects of the process—from chip manufacturing to electricity production to cooling. In the longer term, the company plans to use its mining facilities as a base layer for a larger cryptocurrency enterprise that will include financial services. Layer1 launched in late 2018, with Liegl then describing it as an “activist fund for cryptocurrencies” that would invest in protocols, including a privacy focused project called Grin. At the time, the startup did not disclose mining aspirations, and raised a modest $2.1 million from Thiel, Digital Currency Group and the late investor Jeffrey Tarrant. “From an ideological perspective, for Bitcoin to grow into its multi-trillion potential, it needs a U.S. company to lead,” says Liegl. “This ideology resonates with Peter [Thiel] and our other investors.” Despite Layer1’s large ambitions, its backers—which also include Shasta Ventures and undisclosed wealthy cryptocurrency owners—are keeping a decidedly low-profile for the new investment, which gives Layer1 a valuation of $200 million. Thiel and other investors declined to be interviewed for this story. Crypto mining in recent years has been a ferociously competitive business, but Layer 1 believes changes in the industry have provided an opening to wrest market power from China.
A new Bitcoin mining strategy
In the early years of Bitcoin, from 2009 to roughly 2013, it was viable to mine the cryptocurrency by using a home laptop, like Liegl did when he got his start mining Bitcoin in his Stanford University dorm room. The mining process involves solving random math problems that determine who will build the next block on Bitcoin’s blockchain—a tamper-proof ledger of transactions. The first to solve the math problem also receives a reward in the form of Bitcoins. As the cryptocurrency caught on and prices soared, however, companies began designing special computers optimized to mine Bitcoin. This in turn led miners to join crypto mining pools—combining their computing power in order to share the proceeds whenever a member receives a Bitcoin reward. China has dominated the Bitcoin mining industry—estimates say it accounts for around 60% of production—in large part because its government has provided miners with cheap access to electricity. The leading company has been Beijing-based Bitmain, which runs two massive mining pools and is also the leading seller of the specialized chips now needed to mine Bitcoin. But Bitmain has stumbled in recent months. While the company’s 33-year-old CEO boasted in mid-2018 of grand plans to use artificial intelligence to further dominate the mining world, Bitmain has since suffered large losses and had to lay off half of its staff of 3,000. Bitmain’s troubles weren’t the only factor revealing an opening in Bitcoin mining for Layer1. Liegl says the dynamic of mining has shifted. He thinks buying the latest custom chips previously gave miners an edge, but now the tech has become commoditized. “From 2012-2019, it was mining 1.0 and a function of (capital expenditure) and who can get the newest chip first,” Liegl says. “Now, we’re in 2.0, where (operating expenses) matter most.” Under this thesis, Layer1 believes its plans to develop “full-stack” operations in West Texas will let it capture market share—in part because it won’t be vulnerable to third party suppliers raising prices when the price of Bitcoin goes up.
An industry in flux
In moving into West Texas, Layer1 may have to tread cautiously given that the region has been burned by the cryptocurrency industry in the past. In July, _Wired_magazine ran a feature article describing how Bitmain promised the town of Rockland, Texas hundreds of good jobs operating mining pools, but then abruptly pulled out, despite a concerted good-will campaign by local officials. Liegl, who says his colleagues at Layer1 include veterans of Apple, Google, and Goldman Sachs, plans to proceed much differently. He says the company will be respectful of government officials, and local sensibilities. If Layer1 can successfully become a major force in the mining world, the company’s presence could shake up the geo-politics of Bitcoin. In recent years, there have been fears that China’s dominance could lead miners in that country to collude in order to manipulate records on the blockchain that records all Bitcoin transactions. If American companies can make major inroads into mining, Liegl says, Bitcoin will become more decentralized—a key tenet for the cryptocurrency’s supporters. Layer1 isn’t the only North American company to plan a big move into crypto mining. Canada-based Blockstream, a consultancy with ties to many Bitcoin insiders, revealed it is building massive data centers for Bitcoin mining in the province of Quebec and in Adel, Georgia. “There’s definitely an opportunity to take away market share from some of the other firms,” says Samson Mow, Blockstream’s chief strategy officer. “(Specialized chips) have started to reach their limits in terms of efficiency, so the playing field will continue to level off.”
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If Bitcoin 10x its value and governments become interested in saving and trading in bitcoin. Some might redirect there nuclear plants to mining . There can even be attacks on power stations for rival countries. A distributed AI system would eventually figure out a strategy to get 51%.
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Bitmain Launches Next Gen Miner as Bitcoin Hashrate Touches 100 Exahash. Bitmain introduced a compensation strategy for delivery delay. So if mining rigs are not shipped on the specified delivery dates then Bitmain will compensate customers with coupons for each day of delay.
On the Strategy and Behavior of Bitcoin Mining with N-attackers ABSTRACT Selfish mining is a well-known mining attack strategy discovered by Eyal and Sirer in 2014. After that, the attackers’ strategy space has been extended by many works. These works only analyze the strategy and behavior of one single attacker. The extension of the strategy space is based on the assumption that there is ... Bitcoin Mining – Is it Worth it? Now, every once in a while it makes sense to hold your mining money. For example if the coin your mining is having a fork, it may be a good idea to hold the coin to get the free forked coin. However it may not be, if you think the price of your coin will diminish by more than the price of the free forked coin you will receive. Their are also times when you ... And it's contrary to the original idea of BitCoin that without alpha over 0.5, without a majority of the network, there was no better mining strategy than the default. So the very existence of this attack shows that it's not safe to assume that a miner who doesn't control 50% of the network doesn't have anything to gain by switching to an alternate strategy. Another interesting case is if ... Bitcoin mining still remains one of the best ways to make a profit in the crypto industry, ... hardware it detects. Furthermore, ti comes with a number of different features, including the ability to choose your mining strategy, different tools, tips on those tools, and even the ability to access your mining rig remotely. As mentioned, it is an excellent choice for new miners, but it is also ... Strategic Bitcoin Mining Alliance (SBMA) is a Technology Project developed by Solar Panel Boost Inc. We are currently building, managing and developing a major advanced technology Bitcoin Mining facility for the purpose of aggregating Bitcoin, while reducing the cost of mining great amounts of Bitcoin. We are projecting Bitcoin Mining with at least 60% energy savings while at the same time ...
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