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The distinction between "steal coins" and "double spend" is academic at best, though. In practice, in a double spend you are either lucky to be getting "free coins" stolen from deflation/inflation or the double spend is caught, unwound, and someone is designated the "loser" that lost money in the transaction. Either way meets many practical user definitions of "stolen coins".



You don't have the power to cause inflation. There is a material difference between stealing coins and double spending. Stealing coins implies you can rewrite anyone's balance to be your own balance.

Double spending requires having counterparty, confirming a transaction with that counterparty, and then re-writing history to eliminate the transaction that the counterparty accepted. Coins that aren't in motion during the 51% attack can't be stolen, and coins that are in motion but aren't being sent from the attacker also can't be stolen.




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