Stressing out: Bitcoin “stress testing”

Khaled Baqer, Danny Yuxing Huang, Damon McCoy, Nicholas Weaver

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

    Abstract

    In this paper, we present an empirical study of a recent spam campaign (a “stress test”) that resulted in a DoS attack on Bitcoin. The goal of our investigation being to understand the methods spammers used and impact on Bitcoin users. To this end, we used a clustering based method to detect spam transactions. We then validate the clustering results and generate a conservative estimate that 385, 256 (23.41%) out of 1, 645, 667 total transactions were spam during the 10 day period at the peak of the campaign. We show the impact of increasing nonspam transaction fees from 45 to 68 Satoshis/byte (from $0.11 to $0.17 USD per kilobyte of transaction) on average, and increasing delays in processing non-spam transactions from 0.33 to 2.67 h on average, as well as estimate the cost of this spam attack at 201 BTC (or $49, 000 USD). We conclude by pointing out changes that could be made to Bitcoin transaction fees that would mitigate some of the spam techniques used to effectively DoS Bitcoin.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Title of host publicationFinancial Cryptography and Data Security - International Workshops, FC 2016, BITCOIN, VOTING, and WAHC, Revised Selected Papers
    EditorsKurt Rohloff, Jeremy Clark, Sarah Meiklejohn, Dan Wallach, Michael Brenner, Peter Y.A. Ryan
    PublisherSpringer Verlag
    Pages3-18
    Number of pages16
    ISBN (Print)9783662533567
    DOIs
    StatePublished - 2016
    EventInternational Workshops on Financial Cryptography and Data Security, FC 2016 and 3rd Workshop on Bitcoin and Blockchain Research, BITCOIN 2016, 1st Workshop on Advances in Secure Electronic Voting Schemes, VOTING 2016, and 4th Workshop on Encrypted Computing and Applied Homomorphic Cryptography, WAHC 2016 - Christ Church, Barbados
    Duration: Feb 26 2016Feb 26 2016

    Publication series

    NameLecture Notes in Computer Science (including subseries Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence and Lecture Notes in Bioinformatics)
    Volume9604 LNCS
    ISSN (Print)0302-9743
    ISSN (Electronic)1611-3349

    Other

    OtherInternational Workshops on Financial Cryptography and Data Security, FC 2016 and 3rd Workshop on Bitcoin and Blockchain Research, BITCOIN 2016, 1st Workshop on Advances in Secure Electronic Voting Schemes, VOTING 2016, and 4th Workshop on Encrypted Computing and Applied Homomorphic Cryptography, WAHC 2016
    CountryBarbados
    CityChrist Church
    Period2/26/162/26/16

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Theoretical Computer Science
    • Computer Science(all)

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  • Cite this

    Baqer, K., Huang, D. Y., McCoy, D., & Weaver, N. (2016). Stressing out: Bitcoin “stress testing”. In K. Rohloff, J. Clark, S. Meiklejohn, D. Wallach, M. Brenner, & P. Y. A. Ryan (Eds.), Financial Cryptography and Data Security - International Workshops, FC 2016, BITCOIN, VOTING, and WAHC, Revised Selected Papers (pp. 3-18). (Lecture Notes in Computer Science (including subseries Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence and Lecture Notes in Bioinformatics); Vol. 9604 LNCS). Springer Verlag. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-662-53357-4_1