Bitcoin mining firm Marathon Digital recently confirmed that it mined an invalid Bitcoin (BTC) block as part of an “experiment” aimed at optimizing its operations.
In a post on September 27, Marathon clarified that only a small percentage of its hashrate was used for these experiments and emphasized that they had no intention of altering the network:
“This experiment did not attempt to alter Bitcoin Core in any way.” Marathon emphasized that they promptly corrected the error once they realized that an invalid block had been mined.
We can confirm that Marathon did mine an invalid block. We utilize a small portion of our hash rate to experiment with our development pool and research potential methods to optimize our operations. The error was the result of an unanticipated bug that came from one of our…
— Marathon Digital Holdings (NASDAQ: MARA) (@MarathonDH) September 27, 2023
Marathon clarified that the bug responsible for the invalid block originated from its internal development environment and was unrelated to its Bitcoin production pool or Bitcoin Core, the leading software used for connecting to the Bitcoin network and running a node.
The incident occurred on September 26 at 9:42 pm UTC on block 809478, according to mempool.space.
Bitcoin developers, as well as BitMEX Research, attributed the invalid block to a “transaction ordering issue.” A Bitcoin developer known as “mononaut” believes that Marathon’s mistake stemmed from sorting the transactions in ascending order of absolute fees.
This is what MARA’s invalid block at 809478 looks like:
– pink transactions no longer exist in the main chain
– blue transactions are invalid due to ordering (they spend an output from a transaction included later in the block) https://t.co/SJI1azOB5Z pic.twitter.com/5gY9TRA2eG
— mononaut (@mononautical) September 27, 2023
Bitcoin analyst Dylan LeClair suggested that Marathon should have conducted this experiment on a testnet before attempting it on Bitcoin’s mainnet.
In retrospect, Marathon acknowledged that Bitcoin “functioned exactly as designed” by excluding the invalid block:
“This incident, while unintended, underscores the robust security of the Bitcoin network, which rejected and rectified the anomaly.”
Cointelegraph reached out to Marathon for comment but did not receive an immediate response.
During the opening hours on September 27, Marathon’s (MARA) share price fell 2.91% to $8.01, according to Google Finance.
Photo Credit: Shutterstock/K.unshu