Authors: Mihaljević, Miodrag J. 
Wang, Lianhai
Xu, Shujiang
Todorović, Milan 
Affiliations: Computer Science 
Mathematical Institute of the Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts 
Title: An Approach for Blockchain Pool Mining Employing the Consensus Protocol Robust against Block Withholding and Selfish Mining Attacks
Journal: Symmetry
Volume: 14
Issue: 8
First page: 1711
Issue Date: 2022
Rank: ~M22
ISSN: 2073-8994
DOI: 10.3390/sym14081711
This paper proposes an approach for pool mining in public blockchain systems based on the employment of a recently reported consensus protocol with the puzzle based on a symmetric encryption that provides an energy–space trade-off and reduces energy consumption. The proposed architecture employs a pseudo-symmetric allocation of the resources for the blockchain consensus protocol and provides protection against certain malicious actions of the pool members, as well as a miner’s opportunity for selecting the resources required for participation in the consensus protocol. Given that the considered consensus protocol employs two resources, the proposed architecture uses this two-dimensional nature to provide resistance against block withholding and selfish mining attacks, as well as a reduction in energy spending as a trade-off with the employment of certain memory resources. The high resistance of the proposed pool mining approach against the considered attacks appears to be a consequence of the success probability of the pool in comparison with the success probability of malicious miners. Assuming appropriate selection of the puzzle hardness, the probability that malicious miners can solve the puzzle without the support of the pool manager can be arbitrarily small. Implementation of the proposed approach on a modified Ethereum platform and experimental evaluation issues have also been reported. The conceptual novelty of the proposed pool mining approach is the following: Instead of separation of the blockchain consensus protocol and control of pool miners honest work, this paper proposes an approach where honest work of miners and pool managers is provided by a dedicated application of the considered consensus protocol. Advantages of the proposal in comparison with the previously reported ones include the following: (i) high resistance against block withholding and selfish mining attacks without an additional security procedure; (ii) reduction in the energy required, and at the same time preservationthe security of the consensus protocol; (iii) flexibility of the pool miners regarding selection of the resources that should be employed providing a trade-off between required energy and memory resources. The proposed architecture was implemented employing a dedicated modification of the Ethereum platform and the performed experiments confirmed the feasibility and effectiveness of the proposal.
Keywords: blockchain | consensus protocol | pool mining | security evaluation | selfish mining | symmetric encryption | withholding attack
Publisher: MDPI

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