February 5, 2023

Bitcoin is unstable without the block reward

With Miles Carlsten, Harry Kalodner, and Matt Weinberg, I have a new paper titled On the instability of Bitcoin without the block reward, which Harry will present at ACM CCS next week. The paper predicts that miner incentives will start to go haywire as Bitcoin rewards shift from block rewards to transaction fees, based on […]

Bitcoin is a game within a game

In this series on Bitcoin and game theory, I’ve argued that Bitcoin’s stability is fundamentally a game-theoretic proposition and shown how we’ve had blind spots for years in our theoretical understanding of mining strategy. In this post, I’ll get to the question of the discrepancy between theory and practice. As I pointed out, even though […]

Bitcoin and game theory: we’re still scratching the surface

In an earlier post I argued why Bitcoin’s stability is fundamentally a game-theoretic proposition, and ended with some questions: Can we effectively model the system with all its interacting components in the language of strategies and payoff-maximization? Is the resulting model tractable — can we analyze it mathematically or using simulations? And most importantly, do […]

Consensus in Bitcoin: One system, many models

At a technical level, the Bitcoin protocol is a clever solution to the consensus problem in computer science. The idea of consensus is very general — a number of participants together execute a computation to come to agreement about the state of the world, or a subset of it that they’re interested in. Because of […]