Countering Selfish Mining in Blockchains

Muhammad Saad, Laurent Njilla, Charles Kamhoua, Aziz Mohaisen

Selfish mining is a well known vulnerability in blockchains exploited by miners to steal block rewards. In this paper, we explore a new form of selfish mining attack that guarantees high rewards with low cost. We show the feasibility of this attack facilitated by recent developments in blockchain technology opening new attack avenues. By outlining the limitations of existing countermeasures, we highlight a need for new defense strategies to counter this attack, and leverage key system parameters in blockchain applications to propose an algorithm that enforces fair mining. We use the expected transaction confirmation height and block publishing height to detect selfish mining behavior and develop a network-wide defense mechanism to disincentivize selfish miners. Our design involves a simple modifications to transactions' data structure in order to obtain a "truth state" used to catch the selfish miners and prevent honest miners from losing block rewards.

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