As long as honest nodes control the most CPU power on the network,
they can generate the longest chain and outpace any attackers.
But they don't. Bad guys routinely control zombie farms of 100,000
machines or more. People I know who run a blacklist of spam sending
zombies tell me they often see a million new zombies a day.
This is the same reason that hashcash can't work on today's Internet
-- the good guys have vastly less computational firepower than the bad
Thanks for bringing up that point.
I didn't really make that statement as strong as I could have. The requirement
is that the good guys collectively have more CPU power than any single
There would be many smaller zombie farms that are not big enough to overpower
the network, and they could still make money by generating bitcoins. The
smaller farms are then the honest nodes. (I need a better term than
honest) The more smaller farms resort to generating bitcoins, the higher the
bar gets to overpower the network, making larger farms also too small to
overpower it so that they may as well generate bitcoins too. According to the
long tail theory, the small, medium and merely large farms put together
should add up to a lot more than the biggest zombie farm.
Even if a bad guy does overpower the network, it's not like he's instantly
rich. All he can accomplish is to take back money he himself spent, like
bouncing a check. To exploit it, he would have to buy something from a
merchant, wait till it ships, then overpower the network and try to take his
money back. I don't think he could make as much money trying to pull a carding
scheme like that as he could by generating bitcoins. With a zombie farm that
big, he could generate more bitcoins than everyone else combined.
The Bitcoin network might actually reduce spam by diverting zombie farms to
generating bitcoins instead.
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