Secure High-Rate Transaction Processing in Bitcoin

  • Yonatan Sompolinsky
  • Aviv Zohar
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 8975)


Bitcoin is a disruptive new crypto-currency based on a decentralized open-source protocol which has been gradually gaining momentum. Perhaps the most important question that will affect Bitcoin’s success, is whether or not it will be able to scale to support the high volume of transactions required from a global currency system. We investigate the implications of having a higher transaction throughput on Bitcoin’s security against double-spend attacks. We show that at high throughput, substantially weaker attackers are able to reverse payments they have made, even well after they were considered accepted by recipients. We address this security concern through the GHOST rule, a modification to the way Bitcoin nodes construct and re-organize the block chain, Bitcoin’s core distributed data-structure. GHOST has been adopted and a variant of it has been implemented as part of the Ethereum project, a second generation distributed applications platform.


Block Size Main Chain Computational Power Longe Chain Block Tree 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



The authors were supported in part by the Israel Science Foundation (Grants 616/13, and 1773/13), and by the Israel Smart Grid (ISG) Consortium.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Engineering and Computer ScienceThe Hebrew University of JerusalemJerusalemIsrael
  2. 2.Microsoft ResearchHerzliyaIsrael

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