The paper “Merged Mining: Curse or Cure?” by Aljosha Judmayer, Alexei Zamyatin, Nicholas Stifter, Artemios G. Voyiatzis, and Edgar Weippl was accepted for publication at the 1st International Workshop on Cryptocurrencies and Blockchain Technology (CBT’17), held in conjunction with ESORICS 2017.
Merged mining refers to the concept of mining more than one cryptocurrency without necessitating additional proof-of-work effort. Although merged mining has been adopted by a number of cryptocurrencies already, to this date little is known about the effects and implications. We shed light on this topic area by performing a comprehensive analysis of merged mining in practice. As part of this analysis, we present a block attribution scheme for mining pools to assist in the evaluation of mining centralization. Our findings disclose that mining pools in merge-mined cryptocurrencies have operated at the edge of, and even beyond, the security guarantees offered by the underlying Nakamoto consensus for extended periods. We discuss the implications and security considerations for these cryptocurrencies and the mining ecosystem as a whole, and link our findings to the intended effects of merged mining.
An extended version of the paper is available at the Cryptology ePrint Archive: Report 2017/791.