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When no transactions are submitted to the network, miner can mine empty blocks and generate ether as rewards.

What defines the amount of ether a miner gets rewarded when it mines an empty block?

If the miner itself decides the amount, what prevents a miner from getting very high rewards?

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1- Miners ming blocks and get rewarded as follow :

n=5ETH static block reward;

A block on the main chain gets a reward of n. When a block includes an uncle, the uncle gets a reward of 7/8*n (4.375 Ether) and the block including the uncle gets a reward of 1/16*n (max 1/32*n, a maximum of 2 Uncles allowed per block). The miner will also receive all the gas in fees that it generates from the transactions in the block that it verifies

read about : GHOST protocol

2- who set this reward is the Ethereum protocol for economic reasons it is currently equal to 5ETH for main blocks.

3- the miners however decides the gasprice which determines the fee that they will get if they include transactions into their blocks. they can't set a high gas price because there is a competition between them.

Read also : https://blog.ethereum.org/2016/10/31/uncle-rate-transaction-fee-analysis/

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The amount of Ether awarded for mining a block is a constant value defined by the protocol. Currently it's 5 ETH / Block. Additionally, the miner gets all the fees of transactions which are included in the block.

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