In an 2008-11-03 email, Satoshi Nakamoto hypothesized that Bitcoin could actually reduce spam by making botnets more valuable for being part of the Bitcoin network than spamming:

The Bitcoin network might actually reduce spam by diverting zombie farms to generating bitcoins instead

Was there any research done to say if this actually occurred or not?

1 Answer 1


Was there any research done to say if this actually occurred or not?


It is, of course, impossible to prove a negative.

However I consider it obvious that the sort of hardware used for botnets is not the sort of hardware used nowadays for hashing. Specialised SHA256 ASICs are not repurposed spambots.

During the era of GPU mining, I seriously doubt there was any reduction in home gaming. Merely many disgruntled addicts paying over the top for GPUs or gnashing their teeth at unavailability of bleeding edge GPUs. I doubt a significant number gave up world of warcraft etc.

Consequently I doubt the specialist market for Bitcoin mining hardware caused any measurable reduction of email spamming.

Consequently, I'd be a little surprised if any serious researcher thought it worthwhile them spending significant time carrying out rigorous research on this subject and reporting on it.

  • 2
    Yeah, there was a brief influx of botnet hashpower in 2011, but shortly after that, CPU mining became unprofitable, even for botnets. Jul 24, 2022 at 15:26

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