# What's to stop someone from making a ton of mining nodes as an attack method?

My understanding is that if two miners make a block by completing a hash at the same time, it is then up to the miners to decide which is going to be 'accepted' by vote of which block reaches 51% of the votes first.

What's to stop someone from making a ton of nodes just so that they can get an advantage if this situation arises for himself? (Another node finished a block at about the same time as me, so I unleash my army of nodes to all vote for the block that I made)

• Nodes are expensive (about \$500 each for the cheap ones), and nodes don't get to automatically, instantly vote: They have to solve the next block in the chain (which is a very hard problem to solve: with all the Mining Power in the world, each block takes about 10 minutes) – abelenky May 23 '17 at 20:34
• How can "51%" of nodes vote to go with a specific fork if ONLY the node that solves the next block gets to vote at all? I'm getting that 51% thing from here bitcoin.stackexchange.com/questions/8172/… – user3134006 May 23 '17 at 20:44
• – Murch May 29 '17 at 17:55

Nodes are expensive (about \$500 each for the cheap ones). So you don't want a bunch of miners sitting around idle, just waiting for a fork to jump into action and try to resolve it in your favor.

If you have the Nodes, you'd rather have them working than sitting on the sideline.

Nodes don't get to automatically, instantly "Vote".
The miners decide which block is going to be "accepted" by mining the next block, using either of the two branches as their previous block.

To further a chain a node has to solve the next block in the chain. This is a very hard problem to solve: with all the Mining Power in the world, each block takes about 10 minutes.

It is not clear what "advantage" one would get from favoring one accepted block over another. Naturally, you prefer your own block (so you get the reward and fees), and the other Miner prefers his block (for the same reason).
But every other node in the world can pick either side, they don't really care which side wins.

Once the next block is mined off of either branch, the problem is pretty well decided. If both branches are again solved in roughly the same time, you still have the fork to be resolved on the next block. But forking generally gets resolved within the next 2 or 3 blocks.

Orphaned blocks happen pretty regularly (https://blockchain.info/orphaned-blocks)

When people refer to 51% of the miners, they mean in the long-term, once one branch of a fork has more miners (processing power) on that branch, the "losing" side has to do more work in less time with fewer resources than the winning side, just to catch their branch up to the "winning" branch. That is a virtually impossible task; so the losers just rejoin the main branch.

When two blocks are found at the same height, only one can ultimately become part of the chain with the most total work. Miners do 'vote' which of the blocks to accept, however this is not by casting a ballot, but by producing a succeeding block and thus making one of the two chains longer than the other. Miners thus vote with their hashpower by trying to extend one or the other chain-tip.

Thus the "attack" you describe is impractical: if miners only used their expensive mining hardware solely to decide chain splits, they'd be losing out on a lot of revenue. Instead, they mine all the time to find as many blocks as possible.

Also see: