Cryptology ePrint Archive: Report 2017/791

Merged Mining: Curse of Cure?

Aljosha Judmayer and Alexei Zamyatin and Nicholas Stifter and Artemios G. Voyiatzis and Edgar Weippl

Abstract: Merged mining refers to the concept of mining more than one cryptocurrency without necessitating additional proof-of-work effort. Although merged mining has been adopted by a number of cryptocurrencies already, to this date little is known about the effects and implications. We shed light on this topic area by performing a comprehensive analysis of merged mining in practice. As part of this analysis, we present a block attribution scheme for mining pools to assist in the evaluation of mining centralization. Our findings disclose that mining pools in merge-mined cryptocurrencies have operated at the edge of, and even beyond, the security guarantees offered by the underlying Nakamoto consensus for extended periods. We discuss the implications and security considerations for these cryptocurrencies and the mining ecosystem as a whole, and link our findings to the intended effects of merged mining.

Category / Keywords: cryptographic protocols / hash functions

Date: received 21 Aug 2017, last revised 22 Aug 2017

Contact author: ajudmayer at sba-research org

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Version: 20170822:153618 (All versions of this report)

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