This is a quote from the book "Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System" by Satoshi Nakamoto
... The probability of an attacker catching up from a given deficit is analogous to a Gambler's Ruin problem. Suppose a gambler with unlimited credit starts at a deficit and plays potentially
an infinite number of trials to try to reach breakeven. We can calculate the probability he ever reaches breakeven, or that an attacker ever catches up with the honest chain, as follows:
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Given our assumption that p>q, the probability drops exponentially as the number of blocks the attacker has to catch up with inc...