There was this wonderful technology invented a few years ago to deal with spam. 
It's called Hashcash. All these hacky heuristics like block size are just 
dancing around the problem, and the natural solution is already present in 
bitcoin: smaller blocks, (down to the point of individual transactions) each 
mined. Don't relay things that haven't been mined. As spam or transaction 
levels go up, mining targets for submission go up too.

Of course this is a pretty serious redesign of bitcoin, and I'm not offering a 
concrete proposal at this time (but have one in the works, and I'd like to see 

I call the parameters of these hacky heuristics "Consensus Threatening 
Quantities" (CTQs) because changing them induces a hard fork. Bitcoin is full 
of them (block time, block size, target difficulty, retarget time, etc) and 
bitcoin would do well to face difficult redesign questions head on, and remove 
them entirely. (Proposal to appear...)

On June 8, 2015 5:44:43 PM EDT, Peter Todd <> wrote:
>On Mon, Jun 08, 2015 at 02:33:54PM -0700, Raystonn . wrote:
>> > the attack would be expensive.
>> For attacks being waged to destroy Bitcoin by filling all blocks with
>spam transactions, the attack succeeds when the attacker is well
>funded.  This gives well-funded private and/or public entities the
>means to destroy Bitcoin if they desire.  This is only true after the
>block size limit was implemented.  Without the block size limit, the
>spam doesn’t harm Bitcoin.  It simply enriches miners at the cost of
>the spammers, which is a nicely antifragile quality.
>There will always be a blocksize limit based on technological
>considerations - the network has a finite bandwidth limit.
>Without a blocksize limit the attacker would just flood the network
>until the bandwidth usage became so great that consensus would fail,
>rendering Bitcoin both worthless, and insecure.
>The worst an attacker flooding the network with transactions with a
>blocksize limit can do is raise costs, without harming security. Keep
>mind, that at some point it'd be cheaper to just 51% attack the
>Based on the current block subsidy of 25BTC/MB that's at the point
>transaction fees are 25mBTC/KB, which corresponds to <$2/tx fees - not
>that cheap, but still quite affordable for a large percentage of
>Bitcoin's users right now. And that's the *absolute worst-case* attack
>Bitcoin-development mailing list
Bitcoin-development mailing list

Reply via email to