Imagine if a few miners who together control more than 50% of the network hash power decided to charge higher transaction fees just for addresses containing really large sums.
For example, this address here has 69,471.08443061 BTC:
Now the miners could decide to reject any transaction going out of that particular address (no matter how small the amount) unless it included a 25% transaction fee. You could call it extortion.
- Is it “illegal” (see below) under the rules of Bitcoin?
- How would the rest of the network detect such a problem (given it involves only one particular address)?
- How would such a problem be resolved?
By “illegal” I don’t mean the network would reject such behavior, because that it wouldn’t, but that it would be rejected by most participants in the Bitcoin economy based on an implied understanding of what’s fair and what isn’t.
OK, let’s say the mining cartel publishes their new policy on their website and word goes around.
Also, as an incentive to the rest of the participants in the economy, it is announced that part of the higher transactions fees will be distributed to everyone. This is achieved by setting up a single address (a la SatoshiDice) where you can send any amount and in return you’ll receive the same amount plus the bonus. You can only do this once per address, because the program checks that the funds don’t cross the same address twice.
You could call this a wealth tax or a “Robin Hood tax.”