Bitcoin Security in Absence of Block Rewards


Courtesy of SoFi Learn

Courtesy of SoFi Learn

In 2016, a research paper by Carlsten et. al proposed a specific type of mining attack that could occur once block subsidies disappear called undercutting attacks. Undercutting attacks occur when miners steal transaction fees from an already-mined block by intentionally forking the blockchain which leads to increased instability and decreased security in Bitcoin

However, the original paper only considered a specific transaction fee dynamic based on what was observed in 2016. We aim to investigate a wider range of transaction fee dynamics to generate a more holistic view regarding when undercutting attacks would (or would not) be a long-term threat.

This is an MIT DCI student’s Masters of Engineering thesis project.