The following email is interesting because it suggests the security isn’t primarily the computing power but the economic incentives created by investment behind the computing power. As the network gains more value, it incentivises more people to join the network and further decentralise the network increasing the cost to reverse transactions.
It is also worth noting that “node” here is used to describe nodes with hash power as opposed to the way the term is used today to describe non-mining nodes.
>> they can generate the longest chain and outpace any attackers.
>But they don’t. Bad guys routinely control zombie farms of 100,000
>machines or more. People I know who run a blacklist of spam sending
>zombies tell me they often see a million new zombies a day.
>This is the same reason that hashcash can’t work on today’s Internet
>– the good guys have vastly less computational firepower than the bad
>guys.Thanks for bringing up that point.I didn’t really make that statement as strong as I could have. The requirement is that the good guys collectively have more CPU power than any single attacker.There would be many smaller zombie farms that are not big enough to overpower the network, and they could still make money by generating bitcoins. The smaller farms are then the “honest nodes”. (I need a better term than “honest”) The more smaller farms resort to generating bitcoins, the higher the bar gets to overpower the network, making larger farms also too small to overpower it so that they may as well generate bitcoins too. According to the “long tail” theory, the small, medium and merely large farms put together should add up to a lot more than the biggest zombie farm.
Even if a bad guy does overpower the network, it’s not like he’s instantly rich. All he can accomplish is to take back money he himself spent, like bouncing a check. To exploit it, he would have to buy something from a merchant, wait till it ships, then overpower the network and try to take his money back. I don’t think he could make as much money trying to pull a carding scheme like that as he could by generating bitcoins. With a zombie farm that big, he could generate more bitcoins than everyone else combined.
The Bitcoin network might actually reduce spam by diverting zombie farms to generating bitcoins instead.
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I don’t think he could make as much money trying to pull a carding scheme like that as he could by generating bitcoins.