MNSI Research Seminar

Richard Newton Rooms
Level 5, Electrical Engineering Building
The University of Melbourne


A model for the BitCoin block chain that takes propagation delays into account

Peter Taylor, MNSI Fellow (Networks and Traffic Processes)

Unlike cash transactions, most electronic transactions require the presence of a trusted authority to verify that the payer has sufficient funding to be able to make the transaction and to adjust the account balances of the payer and payee.

In recent years 'BitCoin' has been proposed as an 'electronic equivalent of cash'. The general idea is that transactions are verified in a coded form in a 'block chain', which is maintained by the community of participants who are connected electronically.

Problems can arise when the block chain splits: that is different participants have different versions of the block chain, something which can happen only when there are propagation delays, at least if all participants are behaving according to the protocol.

In this seminar Peter will present some models for analysing different aspects of the splitting behaviour of the block chain. Peter will then perform a similar analysis for a situation where a group of participants have adopted the recently-proposed 'selfish mine' strategy for gaining a greater advantage from BitCoin processing than its combined computer power should be able to generate.

Seminar Details

Date: Friday 31 July 2015
Time: 3:00pm to 4:00pm, followed by refreshments.
Venue: Richard Newton Rooms, Level 5 Electrical Engineering Building, University of Melbourne