Bitcoin Concepts, Threats, and Machine-Learning Security Solutions

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The concept of Bitcoin was first introduced by an unknown individual (or a group of people) named Satoshi Nakamoto before it was released as open-source software in 2009. Bitcoin is a peer-to-peer cryptocurrency and a decentralized worldwide payment system for digital currency where transactions take place among users without any intermediary. Bitcoin transactions are performed and verified by network nodes and then registered in a public ledger called blockchain, which is maintained by network entities running Bitcoin software. To date, this cryptocurrency is worth close to U.S. $150 billion and widely traded across the world. However, as Bitcoin's popularity grows, many security concerns are coming to the forefront. Overall, Bitcoin security inevitably depends upon the distributed protocols-based stimulant-compatible proof-of-work that is being run by network entities called miners, who are anticipated to primarily maintain the blockchain (ledger). As a result, many researchers are exploring new threats to the entire system, introducing new countermeasures, and therefore anticipating new security trends. In this survey paper, we conduct an intensive study that explores key security concerns. We first start by presenting a global overview of the Bitcoin protocol as well as its major components. Next, we detail the existing threats and weaknesses of the Bitcoin system and its main technologies including the blockchain protocol. Last, we discuss current existing security studies and solutions and summarize open research challenges and trends for future research in Bitcoin security.

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IEEE Access, v. 6, p. 67189-67205