2 blocks for the price of one – The Bitcoin network (BTC) has just experienced a rather rare phenomenon: a stale block . This happens when the same block height is validated at the same time by 2 miners. Not enough to panic, however! This has happened before and the Bitcoin code knows how to proceed in this situation.

A statistical improbability that had not occurred for a year

The chance is sometimes mischievous, and an event rarely comes to breed almost a year after the previous stack . It is the Fork Monitor tool , offered by Crypto Genius, which has just detected a new stale block on the Bitcoin blockchain , this January 20.

Precisely at block 666,833 , the SlushPool and F2Pool mining pools conflicted by committing a block of transactions at the same time .

It is ultimately the block mined by SlushPool that was kept in the block suite of Bitcoin’s blockchain, that of F2Pool becoming this famous stale block . This “stale block” (or “stale block” ) phenomenon forces the network to reorganize (reorg) , but this statistical bad luck was anticipated and quantified by the creator of Bitcoin.

In summary, this stale block was the work of an unfortunate user , anxious to succeed in validating a transaction that was too slow using the Replace-By-Fee feature : by submitting the same transaction, while agreeing to pay more fees. , hopefully this steroid transaction will be validated first. But this user has submitted a total of three versions of the same transaction.

A little recap of the situation, constructed by 0xB10C

In the end, and the middle of this position a little confusing but quite normal , and SlushPool F2Pool fought on two different channels (winning and losing), while a latest version of this transaction has just lost in nothingness – included… nowhere .

Satoshi Nakamoto’s genius had it all planned

Andreas Antonopoulos , best known for his book “Mastering Bitcoin” , reminds those who were already starting to howl at double spending that the phenomenon of reorganization is quite possible naturally , by sheer statistical bad luck.

Thus, in one of his tweets, the author of “Internet of Money” mentions the eighth page of Sataoshi Nakamoto’s white paper on Bitcoin, published in 2008:

“This phenomenon shows that Bitcoin is working exactly as expected 12 years ago, exactly as Satoshi describes it (…) when they calculate the probability of a reorganization after 1 block, 2 blocks… etc. (…) “

As a result, it is increasingly unlikely that a reorg could occur beyond an unlucky first stale block . Even for a single block, let us recall once again that this had previously only happened once in almost a year .

Other good news: the fiercer the competition between miners in the Bitcoin network, the more mining difficulty increases, and the less (bad) chance there is that a stale block will occur, especially beyond a block.

It should also be noted that larger reorg phenomena may exist on blockchains, such as that of Craig Wright’s crypto BSV : in 2019, a reorganization of 3 blocks had occurred.

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