> If I were a miner under this attack, I would just use the spam to fill up 
> blocks alongside normal transactions maximising my profit.

You are assuming here that you can identify which transactions are spam, and 
which are not, and then segregate the spam into a separate channels of 
transactions for inclusion on a 50/50 basis alongside other transactions. 
There is no guarantee you will be able to identify those transactions. 
Sure, if you can do that, then the easy fix is just to put them into a lower 
class channel of transactions that guarantee no pressure on the non-spam 
transactions.  But it's just not possible to do this in any meaningful way. 
If you wanted to try, it would certainly add quite a bit of cost and 
complexity on the miner's side, and you aren't going to get anything other 
than the simple spam that comes from the same set of addresses.

> If I were to spam a lot of transactions to fill the memory pool it would 
> cost $120 every 10 minutes

You need to account for the transactions coming from real users.  Every real 
transaction is approximately one less spam transaction you need to fill the 

> there is no memory pool cap currently

Real hardware does not have an infinite amount of RAM.  Memory pool sizes 
cannot grow unbounded.  Some transactions with insufficient fees do get 
dropped today after many hours.

-----Original Message----- 
From: Patrick Mccorry (PGR)
Sent: Monday, June 08, 2015 1:28 PM
To: Raystonn .
Cc: Bitcoin Dev
Subject: Re: [Bitcoin-development] New attack identified and potential 
solution described: Dropped-transaction spam attack against the block size 

Please correct me if I'm wrong (hopefully understood it). I don't think 
normal users would need to pay a higher fee - as miners can just ignore the 
spam (since they will all be linked).

If I were to spam a lot of transactions to fill the memory pool it would 
cost $120 every 10 minutes (assuming 4,000 tx can fit inside a block and 3 
cents per transaction), anything exceeding that may be considered "spam" - 
although I don't know if it would be "free" as the miner will eventually 
claim all the fees, delayed payment is probably a better way to describe it. 
IIRC, there is no memory pool cap currently. To spam 1 million transactions 
would cost $30k which would take up approx 250 blocks (around 250mb) which 
is around 42 hours to process. I think the memory pool can handle this data 
today (someone more knowledgeable can check this for me) - so the attack is 
v.expensive to carry out.

A good way to prevent this spamming the memory pool is to only accept up to 
a 'x' length of 0-confirmed transactions to make it more difficult to pull 
off (not impossible).

If I were a miner under this attack, I would just use the spam to fill up 
blocks alongside normal transactions maximising my profit.

Sent from my iPhone

> On 8 Jun 2015, at 21:09, Raystonn . <rayst...@hotmail.com> wrote:
> When implemented, the block size limit was put in place to prevent the
> potential for a massive block to be used as an attack to benefit the miner
> of that block.  The theory goes that such a massive block would enrich its
> miner by delaying other miners who are now busy downloading and validating
> that huge block.  The original miner of that large-block would be free to
> continue hashing the next block, giving it an advantage.
> Unfortunately, this block size limit opened a different attack.  Prior to
> the limit, any attempt to spam the network by anyone other than someone
> mining their own transactions would have been economically unfeasible.  As
> every transaction would have a fee, there would have been a real cost for
> every minute of spam.  The end result would have been a transfer of wealth
> from spammer to Bitcoin miners, which would have harmed the spammers and
> encouraged further mining of Bitcoin, a very antifragile outcome.
> But now we have the block size limit.  Things are very different with this
> feature in place.  The beginning of a spam attack on the Bitcoin network
> will incur transaction fees, just like before.  But if spam continues at a
> rate exceeding the block size limit long enough for transactions to be
> dropped from mempools, the vast majority of spam transaction fees will 
> never
> have to be paid.  In fact, as real users gain in desperation and pay 
> higher
> fees to get their transactions through in a timely manner, the spammers 
> will
> adjust their fees to minimize the cost of the attack and maximize
> effectiveness.  Using this method, they keep their fees at a point that
> causes most of the spam transactions to be dropped without confirmation
> (free spam), while forcing a floor for transaction fees.  Thus, while spam
> could be used by attackers to disable the network entirely, by paying
> high-enough fees to actually fill the blocks with spam, it can also be 
> used
> by a single entity to force a transaction fee floor.  Real users will be
> forced to pay a transaction fee higher than the majority of the spam to 
> get
> their transactions confirmed.  So this is an effective means for a 
> minority
> of miners to force higher fees through spam attacks, even in the face of
> benevolent miners who would not support a higher fee floor by policy.
> Miners would simply have no way to fix this, as they can only put in the
> transactions that will fit under the block size limit.
> In the face of such a spam attack, Bitcoin's credibility and usability 
> would
> be severely undermined.  The block size limit enables this attack, and I 
> now
> argue for its removal.  But we can't just remove it and ignore the problem
> that it was intended to address.  We need a new fix for the large-block
> problem described in the first paragraph that does not suffer from the
> dropped-transaction spam-attack problem that is enabled by the block size
> limit today.  My proposal is likely to be controversial, and I'm very much
> open to hearing other better proposals.
> Large blocks created by a miner as a means to spam other miners out of
> competition is a problem because miners do not pay fees for their own
> transactions when they mine them.  They collect the fees they pay.  This
> breaks the economic barrier keeping people from spamming the network, as 
> the
> spamming is essentially free.  The proposed fix is to add a new rule on 
> how
> fees are handled.  Some amount of every fee should be considered as burned
> and can never be spent.  I will propose 50% of the fee here, but there may
> be better numbers that can be discovered prior to putting this into place.
> If we'd like miners to continue to collect the same fees after this 
> change,
> we can suggest the default fee per transaction to be doubled.  Half of 
> every
> fee would be burned and disappear forever, effectively distributing the
> value of those bitcoins across the entire money supply.  The other half
> would be collected by the miner of the block as is done today.  This
> solution would mean large blocks would cost a significant number of 
> bitcoin
> to create, even when all of the transactions are created by the miner of
> that block.  For this to work, we'd need to ensure a minimum fee is paid 
> for
> most of the transactions in every block, and the new transaction fee rule 
> is
> in place.  Then the block size limit can be removed.
> Raystonn
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