Witholding transactions

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I'm not sure if this has been discussed. I couldn't find anything in the forums.

What is to stop miners from withholding transactions from their peers to keep the transactions fees for themselves? They could keep transactions with high fees and only transmit them after they solve a block, thus gaining an advantage.

Sure, any single transaction is transmitted to multiple miners, but if lots of miners start engaging in this behavior, then it's conceivable that honest miners will be missing out on lucrative transaction fees.

How do you guys see this scenario playing out?

The transactions are unlikely to be completely blocked. The sender broadcasts to at least eight peers, and the miner probably gets transactions from ~30 peers. Even if every miner blocked transactions, the non-miner relays would probably be enough to spread the transaction to many miners.

Gavin Andresen:
What theymos said.  Miners have a strong incentive to be well-connected (as do big merchants and exchangers and anybody else who generates or processes lots of transactions).

I have an even better idea. My transactions compete with those of others for free space in the blocks, so clearly I should forward only my own transactions and block everybody else's. Profit! Off to make a pull request...

What you guys seem to be saying is that there isn't anything to stop (no disincentive) miners from withholding transactions, but it's okay, because they will be well connected and get the transactions anyway. Won't this result in bottlenecks at the nodes that do actually transmit all transactions?

What are these non-miner relays?


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