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Journal Articles Probability in the Engineering and Informational Sciences Year : 2022

On Profitability of Nakamoto double spend

Abstract

Nakamoto double spend strategy, described in Bitcoin foundational article, leads to total ruin with positive probability and does not make sense from the profitability point of view. The simplest strategy that can be profitable incorporates a stopping threshold when success is unlikely. We solve and compute the exact profitability for this strategy. We compute the minimal amount of the double spend that is profitable. For a given amount of the transaction, we determine the minimal number of confirmations to be requested by the recipient such that this double spend strategy is non-profitable. We find that this number of confirmations is only 1 or 2 for average transactions and a small hashrate of the attacker. This is substantially lower than the original Nakamoto numbers that are widely used and are only based on the success probability instead of the profitability.
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Dates and versions

hal-02411678 , version 1 (15-12-2019)

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Cyril Grunspan, Ricardo Pérez-Marco. On Profitability of Nakamoto double spend. Probability in the Engineering and Informational Sciences, 2022, 36 (3), pp.732-746. ⟨10.1017/S026996482100005X⟩. ⟨hal-02411678⟩
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