Reading the paper on so-called 'Selfish Mining' http://fc14.ifca.ai/papers/fc14_submission_82.pdf

On page 12 Figure 2 relative pool revenue equals 1 at 50% of hash power 'selfishly' mining. The authors are saying you only need 50% of hash power to obtain 100% of fee revenue.. Am I missing something or is this just an obvious red flag for the analysis? Referencing their state machine on page 8 Figure 1, every time the private pool publishes their branch there should be a 50% chance of public miners finding the next block. Are they saying there would be a near-perma fork, with the private pool never actually publishing, leaving all revenues in limbo (ie never been resolved to a main branch)?

1 Answer 1


A 51% attack allows the attacker to effectively censor the blocks of any other mining participants, as even if they do mine blocks, the attacker can outrun the competing chain.

  • Hey thanks for your reply. I am referring to the lead up to a 51% attack by a 'selfish' mining pool. It seems like the paper's authors made a mistake in their analysis by assuming the selfish pool only publishes at a lead of 2 falling to 1 (or the tie situation). As the hash power increases, they predict a decline in the rate of publishing, which falls to zero at 50%. This means the chain is effectively updated less and less frequently, leading to an increase in the rate of transactions based on blocks that won't be in the future main chain.
    – Tsoov
    Commented Dec 22, 2017 at 14:23
  • The currency would experience critical failure BEFORE 50% in that scenario. On the other hand, if the 'selfish' pool has a publishing condition of say 5 blocks in addition to the 2->1 lead fall trigger, the transition point would rise for all lambda and the potential profits would fall.
    – Tsoov
    Commented Dec 22, 2017 at 14:24

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