Incentive Compatibility of Pay Per Last N Shares in Bitcoin Mining Pools

Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 10575)


Pay per last N shares (PPLNS) is a popular pool mining reward mechanism on a number of cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin. In PPLNS pools, miners may stand to benefit by delaying reports of found shares. This attack may entail unfair or inefficient outcomes. We propose a simple but general game theoretical model of delays in PPLNS. We derive conditions for incentive compatible rewards, showing that the power of the most powerful miner determines whether incentives are compatible or not. An efficient algorithm to find Nash equilibria is put forward, and used to show how fairness and efficiency deteriorate with inside-pool inequality. In pools where all players have comparable computational power incentives to deviate from protocol are minor, but gains may be considerable in pools where miner’s resources are unequal. We explore how our findings can be applied to ameliorate delay attacks by fitting real-world parameters to our model.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of ITMonash UniversityClaytonAustralia

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