I'm working on changing the Bitcoin Source Code in order to rebuild a selfish node. Do you think asking detailed questions on Bitcoin.SE beta is a tolerable idea? I think maybe this could motivate some people to do the same for "bad" purposes.

What do you think?

2 Answers 2


In my opinion, if you're not exploiting any weaknesses that are unknown to Core Developers, questions on modifying the standard client for research purposes are perfectly fine. Bitcoin is secure and battle tested, and it only became battle tested by researchers like yourself trying to see how the protocol can be gamed. We need this kind of experimentation to make sure Bitcoin is safe.

If you are researching a type of selfish node that has not been publicly studied, however, then it may be better to consult a few Core Developers to see if anything can be done before making code to exploit a weakness available.

  • I'm just in testing phase and by testing my first selfish build i noticed that by adding a single break command you could keep blocks private as an connected node but would public those hidden blocks in a certain scenario...so i wasn't sure if giving detailed information on code would make life easier for someone who has the skills but not the time to go through code and find that special place to put his break command!? But I guess as Murch mentions in his answer anyone really aiming to harm will somehow manage even without hints from questions on SE, right? Jun 17, 2015 at 16:27

Since you are doing research for your thesis, which is a commendable purpose, questions along that lines should be fine. I suggest you put an explanation in your posts and/or profile, that you are asking about selfish nodes for your research.

If somebody were truly interested in building a selfish node, I assume that they would be able to do so as well, on the other hand, those that wouldn't have the skills or funds to develop one, seem unlikely to have the hash power to make use of it.

I don't see a problem.

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