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Frequently asked questions

Here you will find the most frequently asked questions about RSK, its vision, technology and other aspects

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What consensus protocol does RSK use?

The RSK blockchain is secured a variant of Nakamoto Consensus (PoW) called DECOR+. The proof-of-work is based on the SHA256D mining algorithm (the same algorithm that Bitcoin uses) and merge-mining is enabled. Merge-mining is a protocol that allows miners to mine on both RSK and the Bitcoin blockchains at the same time with exactly the same hardware miners and with no performance penalty. Therefore merge-miners can collect fees on both platforms. RSK has improved several open-source mining-pool softwares to enable merge-mining.

What is the DECOR+ protocol?

In the Bitcoin network, when two or more miners have solved blocks at equal height, there is a conflict of interests. Each competing miner wants his block to be selected by the remaining miners as the best-chain tip. All the remaining honest miners and users would prefer that everyone chooses the same block tip, because this reduces the block reversal probability. DECOR+ sets the right economic incentives for a convergent choice, without requiring further interaction between miners. The conflict is resolved so that:

  1. The resolution is agreed by all parties (consensus) when all parties have access to the same blockchain state information within a time bound (synchronous).
  2. If the system behaves partially synchronous, the conflict is resolved as in Nakamoto Consensus.
  3. The resolution maximizes all miners revenue when the conflicting block revenue (fees) is much higher than the average.
  4. The resolution reduces the power of the miners to censor other blocks or transactions when the conflicting block has a reward close to the average.
  5. Resolving the conflict takes negligible time.
Is RSK secure from selfish mining?

DECOR+, plus the “sticky” rule, is incentive-compatible (that miners gain nothing from withholding blocks) as long as the transaction fees are close to the average, and without miner payment side-channels. This last restriction means that the incentive-compatible property does not withstand miner bribery attacks, which can distort DECOR+ protocol incentives. This restriction also applies to any platform that  provides “Turing-complete” virtual machines, such as Ethereum.

How do you prevent from miners not verifying the parent block to create child blocks faster? (a.k.a. “SPV mining”)

RSK Labs has published an RSKIP that increases the speed of propagation and verification of blocks. This reduces the incentive to start mining a child block without proper parent block verification. The DECOR+ protocol reward miners even if they keep mining sibling blocks for a few seconds until they are ready to create a child block.

Also RSK Labs published an RSKIP allowing for the creation of child blocks even when the parent block has not be fully verified, for up to two block in a row. However reducing the network propagation time seems to be the best approach.

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