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I thought nodes could prevent this too. but if enough miners did do this, what could happen in worst case? thanks in advance for responding

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To spend some BTC, the network’s nodes will require a valid cryptographic signature on the transaction that consumes the UTXO in question. Each UTXO is locked to some bitcoin address, and to create a signature that is valid for that address you’ll need knowledge of the private key used to derive/create that address.

So a miner is not in any sort of privileged position to spend coins that are not theirs, since they do not have knowledge of everyone else's private keys. No matter what a court mandates, the miner will be unable to legitimately spend coins they don't own. Any attempt to do so would be easily identified as cryptographically invalid.

A miner could start creating blocks which move arbitrary coins to addresses of the miner's choice, but these transactions and blocks would be rejected by the rest of the network of nodes, so it would be of no consequence to the network. The miner creating these fraudulent transactions would simply be ignored.

Each network node is an individual instance of the code, working to independently verify the state of the network. Even if every miner started to break the rules, the nodes would simply ignore them (and we’d expect some miner to eventually capitulate and start mining valid blocks again, since they will gain profit for doing so, and otherwise lose money by mining invalid and useless blocks).

  • thank you chytrik for your excellent answer - having faketoshi say this was very disconcerting . and your response is how, i thought, i understood it to be also - so having u validate my reasoning is reassuring. – user100601 Nov 11 at 23:57
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    @user100601 happy to help. I would generally recommend ignoring whatever faketoshi has to say, save for the comedic value of his ramblings. – chytrik Nov 12 at 0:07
  • yes i agree but unfortunately for me (and prolly others) we are the local bitcoin expert (and i am no expert ,but having read Andreas' book i am the closest thing to one -to those around me - lol. so when i get these questions - i am not good enough yet to answer with certainty. so again, thanks for the help – user100601 Nov 12 at 0:34

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