It seems to me that everyone is thinking about the threat from hackers, especially, say large, well-organized groups of hackers.

But what about another threat: casual guessers.

Suppose someone develops a screen-saver that guesses intelligently, and everybody just keeps running it trying to win the bitcoin lotto.

Could the bitcoin network handle it when only one in ten trillion transactions are legitimate?



  • 5
    i have no idea what you're actually asking. does anything happen with dollars when people beg for dollars? does anything happen with food when people beg for food? are transactions resulting from begging somehow 'illegitimate' ?
    – nanotube
    Nov 6, 2011 at 16:57
  • 1
    For info on large number of transactions, see Can the number of transactions per second ever overwhelm the network?. Joseph, by "guessing", do you mean trying to guess a private key and thereby getting someone's money? Also, as nanotube mentions it is very unclear what you mean by begging and borrowing and how that would be different than other transactions. Will close this question soon unless it is improved.
    – D.H.
    Nov 6, 2011 at 17:20
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    There is nothing wrong with beggars. If you are talking about guessing private addresses, take a look at this question: Is it possible to brute force bitcoin address creation in order to steal money?
    – nmat
    Nov 6, 2011 at 20:17

1 Answer 1


Transactions that are invalid will not be propagated by the network, they will stop at the first node that will get them. If someone spams the network with invalid transactions, they can be ignored by the nodes.

Guessing someone's key is so improbable, that not now it is impossible to get any results.

Spammers and scammers probably won't target Bitcoins for awhile - people using them are too few and far in-between. People writing viruses are more harmful nowadays, whether they steal wallets, or botnet your computers into mining.

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