I just saw a new block go by at height 238440 on Blockchain.info that has no transactions but awarded 25 bitcoins. How is this possible, and, why is it possible?

Here is the block information link: https://blockchain.info/block-index/386860/00000000000000db143554fa093eda1e7d608309f733170c4c7ea2777cfd5424

up vote 3 down vote accepted

The block reward is the block subsidy plus the fees from transactions. The block subsidy is 25 BTC, and will be for 3 years.

While mining a block without transactions isn't in the spirit of Bitcoin, and doesn't have much point, it is allowed.

  • This is allowed... by design, or by accident? Wouldn't allowing this open the door for miners generating only "empty" blocks, to minimize their efforts? I believe this could be dangerous for the network! – Joe Pineda May 30 '13 at 1:40
  • 3
    First, there are lots of empty blocks in Bitcoin - early on, when there were no transactions to include, for example. Second, a malicious miner could just make a bunch of fake transactions to fill up their block. Third, a block that's twice as long isn't twice as hard to mine. It's exactly the same. – Nick ODell May 30 '13 at 1:50
  • 4
    Not including any transaction doesn't minimize their mining effort. The only extra work of including transactions is calculating the merkle root and that's trivial. From a miner's perspective (assuming that they don't consider the health of the network), transactions are trivial to include and the transaction fees add to the block reward. So they are all upside for the miners. (Except transactions without fees, which are why transactions without fees sometimes take a long time to get approved; miners have no incentive to include them.) – David Ogren May 30 '13 at 15:51
  • I had always wonderd how had Nakamoto created the first blocks - I had assumed he had created bogus transactions sending the same bitcoin from one address to another and back, over and over... So, if the effort to mine a block is the same regardless of its length, that explains everything, thanks. – Joe Pineda May 30 '13 at 18:27
  • If too many miners produce empty blocks because of the lack of a profit motive, the market transaction fee rate will rise to the point where it becomes profitable once more. So the situation is self-correcting. – mhsmith Nov 7 '15 at 20:56

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