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Bitcoin Block Blunder: MARA's Transaction Trouble

Martin Walker
Sep 29, 2023 at 10:09 am

Marathon Digital Holdings (MARA), a significant player in the Bitcoin mining arena, seems to have encountered a slight snag while in the process of mining a Bitcoin block at the notable height of 809478.

The block's invalid status, as echoed by an array of developers, miners, and researchers, is attributed to a rather inconvenient misalignment in the sequence of transactions.

Transaction Sequencing Issue Revealed by Unidentified Developer

A developer, who prefers to remain anonymous and goes by the moniker 0xB10C, took it upon themselves to share this intriguing narrative on the X social media platform. According to 0xB10C, the predicament stemmed from a hiccup in transaction sequencing within MaraPool, the mining pool managed by Marathon.

"It appears that MARAPool experienced a hiccup in the sequencing of transactions," cryptically mentioned 0xB10C in their initial tweet. They then proceeded to pinpoint the specific transaction that triggered this turbulence. The invalid block harbored a transaction marked as the sixth, attempting to utilize an output from another transaction, precisely the 1,454th in the block.

What adds an element of intrigue is the placement of this particular transaction further down the block, consequently resulting in the invalidation of the entire block due to the improper sequence of transactions.

Moreover, the developer subtly hinted at the possibility of Marathon Digital employing a customized approach in their mining operations. They remarked, "They could be utilizing custom code. Bitcoin Core generally performs a thorough reevaluation of block validity after the creation of a block template," leaving room for speculation about a potential deviation from established industry practices.

Lopp and BitMEX Validate Bitcoin Block Invalidity

In this unfolding tale of digital mining, Jameson Lopp, the co-founder of CasaHODL, made an appearance, lending credibility to the unfolding drama.

BitMEX Research, a reputable entity known for delving into the intricate realms of cryptocurrency research, offered additional perspectives on this incident. They stated that the block's invalid status stemmed from a less-than-optimal arrangement of transactions.

As per BitMEX Research, MARA inadvertently made an error in the organization of their Bitcoin transactions, leading to the unfortunate invalidation of the block at the lofty height of 809478. This blunder involved integrating transaction (A) into the block, attempting to make use of an output from a preceding transaction (B).

The gravity of the situation escalated because transaction B found itself in the block after transaction A, a deviation from the expected sequence that ultimately led to the regrettable invalidation of the entire block. Marathon later acknowledged and confirmed these reports on the X platform.

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