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I'd like to know what's the probability of a sybil attack and if there are mechanisms built in to prevent this kind of attack?

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One cool thing about Bitcoin is that coins are inherently scarse and this is by itself a huge protection from sybil attacks. In other P2P systems, sybil attacks are much harder to prevent because there's no such concept of scarcity. In Bitcoin, a sybil attack would be achieved if one has lot of coins, by sending tons of transactions, and therefore spending such coins.

There are other types of sybil attacks such as overloading nodes connections, and the recent one of filling up the memory pool of specific nodes with really tiny transactions. A way to prevent these would be for example to increase the fees.

  • How does coin distribution have anything to do with a Sybil attack? – Anonymous Jul 14 '15 at 19:49
  • because the transaction, which is what might be sent across the network to produce a sybil attack, represents a transfer of value and therefore cannot be simulated by a gazillion simulated peers to disrupt such network: the size of his attack is always proportional to the amount of transferable coins he owns. – Luca Matteis Jul 14 '15 at 21:43

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