Bitcoin placed in the center of chain with lock

BA: BSV’s empty miner is breaking the terms of Bitcoin network—and the law

Bitcoin Association for BSV is pursuing criminal charges against an apparent malicious miner on the BSV network, according to a statement released Sunday.

The miner has been mining BSV since 2020 and was doing so compliantly until June. At that point, after a period spent accumulating hash power, the miner began mining empty blocks. Mining BSV blocks without including any transactions will naturally increase confirmation times for transactions and disrupt the many businesses using BSV to transact.

Though it’s not clear at this stage what this unknown entity’s motivations are, Bitcoin miners are bound by the network rules established in the Bitcoin white paper—an arrangement codified by the terms of service governing the Bitcoin node software. The white paper describes the steps required for the running of an honest node. These include that new transactions are broadcast to all nodes and that each node collects new transactions into a block. Further, whenever a node finds a proof-of-work, it broadcasts the block to all nodes. Nodes only accept that block if all transactions within it are valid and have not already been spent.

Source: Bitcoin white paper

By choosing to produce only empty blocks, the miner is ignoring the tens of millions of broadcasted transactions from the network and is thus not behaving as an honest miner in accordance with the specifications of the Bitcoin white paper and Bitcoin network. According to Bitcoin Association:

“By voluntarily running a node in the network, nodes are required to follow the steps given in the Bitcoin whitepaper to be considered an honest node in the network. Nodes not fulfilling this mandate are to be considered dishonest nodes, and the whitepaper explains how Nakamoto Consensus can be used by honest nodes to deal with dishonest behavior.”

Bitcoin Association has announced that it is contacting all relevant exchanges and miners to freeze the block rewards associated with the empty miner. In addition, they will be pursuing criminal charges against those responsible, according to the announcement.

The miner is acting dishonestly under the terms of the network and would thus be in breach of those terms. This means that the empty miners are not only in breach of Bitcoin’s unilateral contract, but are likely to have committed any number of infringements of intellectual property and cybercrime laws such as unauthorized access of a computer system or a violation of the owner’s rights to the database under the U.K.’s Database Regulations.

Those responsible have been given an opportunity to own up, so we may have more answers in the coming days.

Watch: Bitcoin Association’s Jad Wahab and Marcin Zarakowski on CoinGeek Weekly Livestream

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