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The blockchain is a shared public ledger on which the entire Bitcoin network relies. All confirmed transactions are included in the block chain.

Because the integrity and the chronological order of the blockchain are enforced with cryptography it is generally thought to be unbreakable.

However I've heard from a fairly reliable (academic) but secondhand source that a number of people are attacking Bitcoin blockchains using some statistical method to extract specifics about blockchain transactions.

This would be a pretty big deal, but sounds a little like NSA stuff to me - except I trust the person who suggested it possible.

QUESTIONS:

  1. Does anyone know of any peer-reviewed papers on attacking Bitcoin block chains?

  2. Clearly if the newer ethereum's blockchain can be attacked why not Bitcoin? Does anyone know of any successful attacks against Bitcoin's blockchain?

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    There are a fair number of people, academic and otherwise, trying to break the semi-anonymity of bitcoin, i.e. identify or at least characterize (some) payors; bitcoin.SX has several Qs on this, and on a quick check I see bitcoin.stackexchange.com/questions/52/… points to arxiv at least. AFAIK no one has suggested any break on integrity, i.e. change/undo txns, other than the obvious one known from the beginning of a dishonest miner having more hashpower than all the honest miners -- called a '51% attack'. – dave_thompson_085 Dec 27 '16 at 6:33

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