The bitcoin cryptocurrency might be appropriated by the groups of “selfish miners” which are bringing honest users to lose time, effort and cash.

Because of the manner the anonymous, decentralized, peer-to-peer digital currency is created using complicated data processing operations, a group of cheaters called "selfish miners" may hijack or appropriate this currency and rewrite the shared record of transactions. These operations might erase the bitcoins owned by honest users and conceivably cause a cryptocurrency collapse.

As two scientists from Cornell University, Ittay Eyal and Emin Gun Sirer, said there is already a possibility for the collapse to happen. They both work at the computing science department at university. Eyal and Gun Sirer have reckoned up that "selfish miners" group would need more than a 33% share of the presently used computational capability for generating bitcoins to effect the desired result.

Specific groups often break 25% of the bitcoin mining power using in the world, and a few of them have already exceed the 33% share, said the scientists.

"The bitcoin ecosystem is open to manipulation, and potential takeover, by miners seeking to maximize their rewards," say Eyal and Gun Sirer in the recently published article on the Arxiv website. "The protocol can never be safe against attacks by a selfish mining pool that commands more than 33% of the total mining power of the network."

Mining: time-consuming and expensive

While most users purchase bitcoins from exchange markets like Mt Gox, some users create new ones by "mining". Mining is a method that needs computers to carry out computations required to make this cryptocurrency work.