Attacking Vectors of Selfish Mining

Charlotte Miller

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Selfish Mining is not an attack like that done by the Hackers but it is an illegal winning strategy adopted by the miners, here a miner is seen hiding and withholding their transaction details about the block and dominating the one fourth mining power of the entire blockchain.

It helps the miners who want to play an ugly game with unfair means of winning strategies and manipulating the entire mining cartel.

Now, what are the attacking Vectors of Selfish Mining?

Here we will be discussing the points that contribute to the selfish mining strategies with no difficulty and allow the selfish miners to exploit the blockchain network.

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Breaking the Longest Chain rule

The Longest Chain rule means that you have to increase your blockchain length when there is the situation of block forking, Block forking means the split of the blockchain with two equal ends, so now to counter this situation, Bitcoin protocol uses the rule of extending the blockchain. Click Bitcoin Digital for further details.

The Blockchain which will get its first block attached to its head is claimed to be accepted as the profitable mining chain, here the selfish miners’ mines both type of blockchain the public one and the private one.

And wait until the private blockchain is longer than the public one, instantly broadcast the longer one hence discarding the public chain completely.

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Forging the timestamps

Selfish miners are known to forge the timestamps on the blockchain, they use them to delay the time and unknowingly keeps the blocks away from the public broadcast by changing the timestamps which were provided on them at the time of mining.

Increasing the Transaction period

They manipulate the transaction period by unconfirmed blocks and keeping the confirmed block at withhold, this not only increases the transaction period per block,

 But also wastes the effort of the honest miner by doubling the transaction time taken per block for its verification.

Transaction Backlog

A set of transactions that remains unconfirmed until a software or a transaction router validates its authenticity, however, Selfish miners increase the Transaction backlogs to earn more hash power and mining resources than Honest miners.

Some unconfirmed transactions increase the traffic in the blockchain network which further results in longer confirmation time and higher fees priority.

Increasing the Block races session

Increasing the number of transaction periods not only disturb the smooth transaction flow but also creates a problem for the honest miners who are waiting for the confirmation of their transaction that got rejected in the first session of the Block race.

Now, they have to wait for confirmation until the next block race session, which not only increases the time and block race feasibility.


Miners announce incorrect timestamps while connecting a node to the Blockchain network, some selfish miner manipulates the node’s original timestamps and falters it to accept the alternative blockchain which is using the corrupt mining protocol.

Every node contains its original time counter which indicates the original period, it is optimized in such a way that if there is a delay of more than 70 minutes, it reverts by itself.

Now here the Selfish Miner would trick the node networking time by slowing down the timestamps of a targeted block and creating a difference of 140 minutes instead of 70 minutes.

Poison Pill Block

Blockchain nodes reject those blocks which have a timestamp greater than 2 hours therefore, A miner would knowingly create a new block with more than a 2-hour timestamp and would try to send it to the target blockchain network.

But the target node would completely discard this new block and would continue in the original network, while the Honest miners would accept this new block without knowing its validity and would start mining the block, while the Selfish miner would identify the node and would mine it secretly.


However, there are lots of attacking vectors of selfish mining that tries to manipulate and divert the original meaning of the network, by adopting these unfair means they try to eliminate the traffic and competitors out of their league,

And start to find their target node to stay ahead of time and successfully mining the block.