Incentives for harvesting attack in proof of work mining pools

Yevhen Zolotavkin, Veronika Kuchta

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PoW consensus largely depends on mining that mostly happens in the pools where Pay Per Share (PPS) and Pay Per Last N Shares (PPLNS) are the most common reward schemes that are offered to the affiliated miners by pool managers. In this paper, we demonstrate that in the system consisting of PPS and PPLNS pools, manager who governs the both pools may have incentive for a new type of “pool harvesting” attack that is harmful for honest miners. In order to profit from the attack on PPLNS pool manager declares that a non-existent miner A joins that pool. She then collects the portion of reward that corresponds to the mining power of the proclaimed miner A. We demonstrate that for the mining community, such unfavorable outcome is worsened by the manager incentives to misrepresent (or not report) the true power of PPS pools, which complicates unified estimation of the level of decentralization in blockchain.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationComputer Security – ESORICS 2019
Subtitle of host publication24th European Symposium on Research in Computer Security Luxembourg, September 23–27, 2019 Proceedings, Part I
EditorsKazue Sako, Steve Schneider, Peter Y. A. Ryan
Place of PublicationCham Switzerland
Number of pages23
ISBN (Electronic)9783030299590
ISBN (Print)9783030299583
Publication statusPublished - 2019
EventEuropean Symposium On Research In Computer Security 2019 - Luxembourg, Luxembourg
Duration: 23 Sep 201927 Sep 2019
Conference number: 24th (Proceedings)

Publication series

NameLecture Notes in Computer Science
ISSN (Print)0302-9743
ISSN (Electronic)1611-3349


ConferenceEuropean Symposium On Research In Computer Security 2019
Abbreviated titleESORICS 2019
Internet address

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