Thanks "nullius" for your remarks. Notice my first post was not an RFC but
just a blur idea to inspect if something similar had already been discussed
in the group. In fact your post has helped me a lot to improve my first
> Observation: This totally destroys Bitcoinâs transaction-ordering
security. A â51% attackâ could be executed by any miner who has >50% of
the hashpower *proportionate to miners who are allowed to mine a particular
block*, rather than >50% of *global* hashpower. (I infer that this could
be done retroactively, and wave my hands over some of the details since you
did not talk about reorgs.) The same applies as for attacks requiring 33%
or 25% of total hashpower.
I'm not sure what you are referring to in this paragraph. Imagine for
example that there are a total of, let's say, 2^10 available
next-coinbase/miners and the algorithm just allow 50% or 2^9 of them to
mine, Â¿how could it be possible that one among them could have 51% of power
by chance? (Please, read comments bellow before replying)
> Potential attack, assuming that N *must* be based partly or wholly on the
existing set of ânext-coinbaseâ addresses: A large miner could gradually
push N higher, by progressively committing new ânext-coinbaseâ addresses
which differ in the next bit for all previously seen combinations of bits.
Large miners would have a vast advantage over small miners, insofar as
deliberately incrementing N by one more bit could only be done by a miner
who creates 2^(N+1) blocks (= 2 * 2^N). By such means, it may be possible
for a very large miner to eventually lock out all other miners altogether,
and monopolize all Bitcoin mining.
I do not think it would be easy even for a large miner but that made me
think for an alternative algorithm. Let's introduce the concept of "spent"
next-coinbase versus "un-spent" one, something like similarly to UTXO. A
next-coinbase would only be valid if it has not been previously used to
mine a block. Simplifying, with the spent vs unspent a large miner is
restricted to a single next-coinbase as anyone else. Being more precise
it's allowed a single next-coinbase for each mined new-miner-block mined
creating a "thread" of mining blocks for each new new-miner-block.
Schematically a thread would look like:
new-miner-block:next-coinbase_1 -> mined-block:next-coinbase_2 -> ... ->
(thread expired - see comment below about expiration)
In this case a large miner A with T times more power than another one B
could potentially spent mining power to create T parallel threads for each
thread created by miner B. A solution that could fix this issue is to allow
a maximum life time for each thread expressed in number of blocks. After a
given number of blocks have being mined the miner is forced to create new
new-miner-block to continue participating. The algorithm to choose the
life-time must be such that if a miner tries to create many parallel
threads (many new-miner-block), by the time it start mining transaction
blocks the first new-miner-block will start to expire, so he will be
If the famous phrase "a degree of indirection solve all programming
problems" I think this is an example applied to blockchain. First the
consensus chooses who can participate in the next round, then selected
miners participate in the round.
> Now, questions:
> How is N determined? By a wave of the hands?
Great question. I left it unspecified in the first mail. An algorithm comes
to my mind (You are welcome to propose others). Let's imagine the list of
registered non-expired next-coinbase addresses is 2^10. The consensus
checks that for N=1 there is *about* 1/2^N == 1/2 of unspent next-coinbase
addresses that match (it must be close to 1/2 of the total 2^10 addresses
with maybe an small +/- 1% statistical deviation). Then N=1 will be
accepted. Check now for N=2. If there are 1/(2^N) = 1/4 next-coinbase
addresses matching then N=2 is accepted. The algorithm continues until some
"++N" fails. Initially N=0 and so all miners are welcome to the game. They
all will start producing next-coinbase addresses and when there are enough
different ones N will become 1, then 2, ... This system will will keep an
equilibrium naturally. If new miners stop producing new new-miner-blocks,
eventually the threads will expire and N will be automatically be
decreased. Miners will act rationally to keep enough threads open in their
own interest since that will decrease the electricity bill.
> What part of which block hash is matched against N bits? You were quite
unclear about this, and other important details. (Much of what I say here
is based on assumptions and inferences necessary to fill in the blanks.)
Thinking about it, the hash must run over "many" different blocks and it
must include the next next-coinbase (to force calculating the hash after
choosing a next-coinbase). Since it's not expected that many blocks are
mined by the same miner in a row (maybe no more than 2 o 3) the "many"
number must be for example twice as much as the expected maximum numbers of
blocks that a large miner can mine in average.
> How, exactly, are reorgs handled?
I think reorgs are not affected by this algorithm. The next-coinbase
objective is just to randomly choose which miner will be allowed for the
> How does this interact with the difficulty adjustment algorithm? Indeed,
how is difficulty determined at all under your scheme?
As I see it, if the network wants to keep the same pace of new blocks each
N seconds, and N=1 (only half of the miners are allowed to mine) then
difficulty/power-bill is lowered by two, for N=2 by 4, ...
> What happens to coinbase fees from a ânew-miner-blockâ? The way I read
your scheme, the ânew-miner-blockâ must necessarily have no payout
whatsoever. But you discuss only ânew bitcoinsâ,which are a diminishing
portion of the block reward, and will eventually reach zero. Coinbase from
fees must go somewhere; but under your scheme, a ânew minerâ has no payable
This new-miner-block will have NO transactions inside.
> What if no existing ânext-coinbaseâ address matches? Is N constrained to
be sufficiently short that a match is guaranteed from the existing set,
then that makes it trivial for large mining farms to collect addresses and
further dominate (or even monopolize) the network in the attack described
above. If it isnât, then the network could suddenly halt when nobody is
allowed to mine the next block; and that would enable *this* attack:
I think the previous algorithm I mention to replace the "wave of hands"
(test N=1, then N=2,... ) plus the "expiring threads" would suffice to fix
> What stops a malicious miner (including a ânew minerâ creating a
ânew-miner blockâ) from deliberately working to create a block with a hash
which does not have N bits matching any of the existing ânext-coinbaseâ
addresses? Contra what you say, block hashes canât be âconsidered
randomâ. Indeed, partial preimage bruteforcing of block hashes is the
entire basis of mining POW.
Again, that is fixed by the previous algorithm
> Asking here more generally than as for the attack described above, what
stops mining farms with large hashpower from submitting many different
ânext-coinbaseâ addresses in many different blocks? If N be small, then it
should be feasible for a large mining farm to eventually register a set of
ânext-coinbaseâ addresses which match any N. **This increases mining
centralization.** If N be large, then this creates the possibility (or
raises the probability) that no address will match, and nobody will be
allowed to mine the next block.
Fixed by the expiring thread model?
> How could miner anonymity be preserved under a scheme whereby each
> ânext-coinbaseâ address can be linked to a previous ânext-coinbaseâ
> address? The only way to start fresh would be with a prohibitively
> expensive no-payout block. Mining can be totally anonymous at present, and
> must so remain. Miners are only identified by certain information they
> choose to put in a block header, which they could choose to change or
> omitâor by IP address, which is trivially changed and is never a reliable
> The anonymity decreases in the sense that if you know a next-coinbase
address owner you know all its related next-coinbase for the expiring
(physical-time-limited) thread. The anonymity increases in the sense that
miner will consume fewer energy. Electricity bill is the easiest way today
to trace miners.
> How does this even save electricity, when there is much mining equipment
(especially on large mining farms) which cannot be easily shut down and
restarted? (Allegedly, this is one reason why some big miners occasionally
mine empty blocks.) Though I suppose that difficulty would drop by
As explained above, the difficulty is reduced by 1/2^N for each round. And
of course, miners that want to save more energy will have to adapt to put
their systems on stand-by while they are not chosen for the next round. I
think based on my limited experience with ASIC mining that just by not
sending new orders to the miner the power comsumption will decrease
dramatically even if the equipment is still on.
> Further observations:
> This scheme drastically increases the upfront investment required for a
> new miner to start mining. To mine even one new block all by oneself,
> without a pool, already requires a huge investment.
Once introduced the concept of "expiring" thread I think he will be pretty
much in the same condition. To obtain bitcoins he will first need to mine a
new-miner-block to enter the game and then an standard block before the
thread expires. Notice the expire time/block-length start just after the
new-miner-block has been mined so the probabilities to mine before the
expiration time will be proportional to its mining power, as for everyone
> Add to that the uncompensated energy cost of mining that first block with
I think it could be clearly compensated by the save in energy for standards
>and I expect that the bar would be prohibitive to almost all new
entrants.Mining costs and incentives are delicately balanced by the design
of the network. Whereas incumbents are much favoured by your scheme,
further increasing miner centralization.
I don't think so after the new fixes. What do you think? My opinion is
that, based on the "theory of games", miners acting in their own interest
will try to maximize "N".
> Large incumbents could also use this to produce a mining permissions
market, by selling the private keys to committed ânext-coinbaseâ
With the addition of thread expiration, nobody will be really motivated to
shell/buy "next-coinbase" addresses since their utility is limited.
Just a remark: Notice this algorithm reduces the electricity bill, but the
hardware needed stays the same, since for each round the miner participates
in, it will try to mine as fast as possible and so use as much hardware as
possible. No reduction costs are expected in hardware.
Enrique ArizÃ³n Benito
I have not even tried to imagine what oddball attacks might be possible for
> any miner with sufficient hashpower to deliberately cause a small reorg.
> ***@nym.zone | PGP ECC: 0xC2E91CD74A4C57A105F6C21B5A00591B2F307E0C
> Bitcoin: bc1qcash96s5jqppzsp8hy8swkggf7f6agex98an7h | (Segwit nested:
> 3NULL3ZCUXr7RDLxXeLPDMZDZYxuaYkCnG) (PGP RSA: 0x36EBB4AB699A10EE)
> ââIf youâre not doing anything wrong, you have nothing to hide.â
> No! Because I do nothing wrong, I have nothing to show.â â nullius