VRF-based mining simple non-outsourceable cryptocurrency mining

Runchao Han, Haoyu Lin, Jiangshan Yu

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference PaperResearchpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


This paper introduces VRF-based mining, a simple and effective way of making pooled mining impossible. Instead of using hash functions, VRF-based mining uses Verifiable Random Functions (VRFs) for Proof-of-work (PoW)-based consensus. As VRF binds an output with a secret key, a pool operator should reveal its secret key to outsource the mining process to miners, and miners can anonymously steal cryptocurrency in the pool operator’s wallet. We revisit the definition of non-outsourceability in existing research, and identify two properties, namely punish-mining-reward and stealing-unlinkability. Punish-mining-reward specifies that if a pool operator outsources mining to a miner, then the miner can steal mining reward. Stealing-unlinkability specifies that the pool operator cannot identify miners stealing mining reward. We show that VRF-based mining satisfies punish-mining-reward, but not stealing-unlinkability. Nevertheless, the pool operator should take extra effort – which makes maintaining mining pools expensive – to identify mining reward stealers and transfer mining reward before being stolen. In addition, we discuss several considerations on instantiating VRFs for VRF-based mining. Moreover, we experimentally show that VRF-based mining is simple to implement and introduces negligible overhead compared to hash-based mining.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationData Privacy Management, Cryptocurrencies and Blockchain Technology
Subtitle of host publicationESORICS 2020 International Workshops, DPM 2020 and CBT 2020 Guildford, UK, September 17–18, 2020 Revised Selected Papers
EditorsJoaquin Garcia-Alfaro, Guillermo Navarro-Arribas, Jordi Herrera-Joancomarti
Place of PublicationCham Switzerland
Number of pages18
ISBN (Electronic)9783030661724
ISBN (Print)9783030661717
Publication statusPublished - 2020
EventInternational Workshop on Cryptocurrencies and Blockchain Technology 2020 - Virtual, Guildford, United Kingdom
Duration: 17 Sept 202018 Sept 2020
Conference number: 4th
https://link.springer.com/book/10.1007/978-3-030-66172-4 (Proceedings)
https://deic-web.uab.cat/cbt/cbt2020/ (Website)

Publication series

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


ConferenceInternational Workshop on Cryptocurrencies and Blockchain Technology 2020
Abbreviated titleCBT 2020
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
Internet address

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