The race is to spread your transaction on the network first. Think 6 degrees of freedom -- it spreads exponentially. It would only
The race is to spread your transaction on the network first. Think 6 degrees of freedom -- it spreads exponentially. It would only take something like 2 minutes for a transaction to spread widely enough that a competitor starting late would have little chance of grabbing very many nodes before the first one is overtaking the whole network. During those 2 minutes, the merchant's nodes can be watching for a double-spent transaction. The double-spender would not be able to blast his alternate transaction out to the world without the merchant getting it, so he has to wait before starting. If the real transaction reaches 90% and the double-spent tx reaches 10%, the double-spender only gets a 10% chance of not paying, and 90% chance his money gets spent. For almost any type of goods, that's not going to be worth it for the scammer.