An Undercutting attack as described in this paper, is a mining strategy which involves producing new blocks not on the longest known chain, but instead ‘undercutting’ the longest chain by building a block, which collects less of the available transactions’ fees, on a shorter chain. This behavior creates a direct incentive for another miner to now build new blocks on the ‘undercutting’ chain as there exist a higher sum of transactions’ fees for them to collect.
In the paper, the authors describe how this can lead to a situation in which a 51% attack can be successfully carried out with less than 51% of the hashing power of the network. This is enabled due to the undercutters orphaning blocks and lowering the effective hashing power of the network (the 51% attackers have an advantage as they needn’t orphan their own blocks, but the honest or undercutting miners work at a cumulatively lower hash rate due to the potential orphaning of higher value blocks).
Are there any solutions which disincentivize Undercutting behavior? Or, can the behavior be mitigated through a change to the protocol?
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