A Distributed Blockchain Model of Selfish Mining

From International Center for Computational Logic

A Distributed Blockchain Model of Selfish Mining

Talk by Ansgar Fehnker
  • Location: APB 3027
  • Start: 26. February 2020 at 12:30 pm
  • End: 26. February 2020 at 2:00 pm
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Bitcoin is currently still the most widely used cryptocurrency, judging from its market cap and trade volume. A big part of Bitcoin's appeal is the mining process, which makes sure that new transactions are being validated and processed in a distributed fashion, maintaining a distributed ledger known as the blockchain. Miners receive a fee for every block of transactions that they mine, as an incentive for their computational effort. In the long run, they can expect a reward proportional to the computational power they provide to the network. However, Eyal and Sirer introduced a strategy for a miner to time the publishing of blocks that will give them a significant edge in profits. This talk will present a model for the behaviour of honest and selfish mining pools in UPPAAL, that can be used for analysing properties of the mining process in the presence of network delay, and taking into account the distributed nature of the process. The analysis shows what effects selfish mining would have on the share of profits, but also on the number of orphaned blocks in the blockchain. This analysis also allows us to compares those results to real-world data, to establish if there is evidence for the presence of selfish miners.


Ansgar Fehnker is Associate Professor for Programming Education at the Faculty of Electrical Engineeering, Mathematics, and Computer Science, at the University of Twente. He is part of the Formal Methods and Tools group and has been previously professor at the University of the South Pacific and researcher at Australia's ICT research centre NICTA, working on static analysis for C/C++ and on analysis of wireless network protocols with model checking. Prior to joining NICTA he was a PostDoc in the model-checking teams at Carnegie Mellon University, US. He received his PhD from the Radboud University Nijmegen on verification of real-time and hybrid systems.