For some people, Bitcoin looks like the most-promising currency, which is free from duplication and other problems that are associated with other types of money. If we would mention its exchange rate, which went up from $11.18 to $354.00 for 1 BTC, we would definitely find even more fans around that would be interested in investing in it. However, no one is perfect and, it seems, Bitcoin currency also has security-related issues. According to some researchers, the major its problem is one vulnerability, which allows ‘selfish mining’.
As Dr. Ittay Eyal and Emin Gun Sirer claim in their research paper, Bitcoin is vulnerable to the way how it works. Bitcoins are generated via a well-organized network of computers, which is involved in solving a cryptographic problem. Thousands of machines, at any given moment, start working on the same puzzle, which, typically, is so complicated that home computer working alone would take years to solve it.. Once one group of miners solves the puzzle and discovers needed blocks, they receive a reward and also quickly and truthfully share every block they discovered. After that, all ‘miners’ start working on a new puzzle.
However, as Dr Ittay Eyal claims, there is one weakness in this entire process: Bitcoin mining system can suddenly become dominated by a single group. If this group of miners would decide to keep their block discoveries private, other miners wouldn’t start of the new mining process on time.
Researchers call this attack ‘selfish’ and claim that it can help for hackers to take control over this digital cash system. While it’s still a secret how this works in practice, it seems that such possibility clearly exists.