Bitcoin and Blockchain Security A Study in Misconceptions


  • Svein Ølnes Western Norway Research Institute, Sogndal, Norway


Since its inception in 2008/2009 Bitcoin and its underlying blockchain technology has been thoroughly studied and the number of scientific articles has grown substantially. Irrespective of the research field, most of the articles have an introduction to blockchain technology where the key parts of it are described. However, many authors make misconceptions about the security model of Proof of Work-based blockchains when describing it. The most prevailing misconception is the confusion of the concepts tamper evidence and tamper resistance. There are also other misconceptions regarding blockchain security. This article presents the result of an extensive literature review of blockchain publications indexed by Web of Science where we study how the security of blockchains is described. We find that almost a third of the studied papers are misleading when describing the security of the technology.