Security of the Blockchain Against Long Delay Attack
The consensus protocol underlying Bitcoin (the blockchain) works remarkably well in practice. However proving its security in a formal setting has been an elusive goal. A recent analytical result by Pass, Seeman and shelat indicates that an idealized blockchain is indeed secure against attacks in an asynchronous network where messages are maliciously delayed by at most $$\varDelta \ll 1/np$$, with n being the number of miners and p the mining hardness. This paper improves upon the result by showing that if appropriate inconsistency tolerance is allowed the blockchain can withstand even more powerful external attacks in the honest miner setting. Specifically we prove that the blockchain is secure against long delay attacks with $$\varDelta \ge 1/np$$ in an asynchronous network.