mining theory – What prevents a miner to be ignored by the other participants?

What do the other participants in the network gain from accepting their answers to the puzzle?

Essentially, consensus.

As long as a miner controls less than 51% of the network hashrate, they must always try to mine on top of the newest block.

If miner A creates block 1000, miner B may ignore it. Let’s say B controls 20% of the hashrate. If B continues to mine on block 999, there is an 80% chance that another miner will produce block 1001, linking back to block 1000 – now B needs to find a block for heights 1000 and 1001 to keep up, and is currently out of sync with the network. This gap only grows as more blocks are added to the longer chain (which again will happen more frequently than B discovering a block and working to catch up).

Now, B has found no blocks, and receives no reward – instead, if B accepts A’s block 1000 and continues mining on top of the newest block consistently, there is a 20% chance that they will receive the block reward + fees as the block will be part of the main chain the moment is is produced, instead of only being accepted after B is able to produce enough blocks to bridge the gap, which will (probably) not happen until B’s hashrate is >=51% of the network hashrate.

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