Antpool Mines Seven Blocks in a Row, Raising Security Concerns

  • Sergey Maga
  • 18 May, 2024 16:19
Antpool Mines Seven Blocks in a Row, Raising Security Concerns

On May 17, Antpool, the second-largest Bitcoin mining pool, mined seven consecutive blocks, heightening security concerns within the cryptocurrency community. This sequence, spanning block heights 843,898 to 843,904, confirmed 20,686 transactions and generated over 23 BTC, roughly $1.54 million in revenue. The event lasted for one hour and 38 minutes and saw Antpool collecting 1.283 BTC in fees, along with 21.875 BTC from block subsidies, according to Finbold.

This occurrence has raised alarms about the centralization and security of the Bitcoin network. Foundry USA, the largest Bitcoin mining pool, mined the block immediately before and the two blocks following Antpool’s sequence, leading to a combined stretch of 10 blocks mined by just two entities. This consolidation challenges the decentralization principle vital for Bitcoin’s security.

Bitcoin’s proof-of-work consensus mechanism relies on the idea that different, independent entities will find new blocks, ensuring that no single entity can control the blockchain. However, the dominance of a few large mining pools can undermine this security model, increasing the risk of a “chain reorg,” where confirmed transactions might be reverted, as if they never existed.

Antpool, a subsidiary of Bitmain, has recently been in the spotlight. In November 2023, it controversially refunded an 83 BTC fee. Currently, Antpool accounts for 25.48% of all blocks mined in the last seven days, second only to Foundry USA’s 31.12% share, together dominating 56.6% of the network’s hashrate.

A Bitcoin developer has suggested that transactions should wait at least two hours before being considered secure due to the risk of a chain reorg. The recent seven-block streak by Antpool underscores these concerns and highlights the need for vigilance in maintaining the network’s decentralization and security.

This development emphasizes the importance of monitoring mining pool activities to ensure the integrity and security of the Bitcoin network. The community must consider measures to prevent excessive centralization and preserve the decentralized nature of Bitcoin.

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