Game-theoretical analysis of mining strategy for Bitcoin-NG blockchain protocol

Taotao Wang, Xiaoqian Bai, Hao Wang, Soung Chang Liew, Shengli Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

Bitcoin-NG (next generation), a scalable blockchain protocol, divides each block into a key block and many microblocks to effectively improve the transaction processing capacity. Bitcoin-NG has a special incentive mechanism (i.e., splitting transaction fees to the current and the next leader) to maintain its security. However, this incentive mechanism ignores the joint effect of transaction fees, mint coins, and mining duration lengths on the expected mining reward. In this article, we identify the advanced mining attack that deliberately ignores microblocks to enlarge the mining-duration length to increase the likelihood of winning the mining race. We first show that an advanced mining attacker can maximize its expected reward by optimizing its mining-duration length. We then formulate a game-theoretical model in which multiple mining players perform advanced mining to compete with each other. We analyze the Nash equilibrium for the mining game. Our analytical and simulation results indicate that all mining players in the mining game converge to having advanced mining at the equilibrium and have no incentives for deviating from the equilibrium; the transaction processing capability of Bitcoin-NG at the equilibrium is decreased by advanced mining. Therefore, we conclude that the Bitcoin-NG blockchain protocol is vulnerable to advanced mining.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages12
JournalIEEE Systems Journal
DOIs
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 10 Jul 2020

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