51 percent of Ethereum Classic attacks a lesson for Altcoin
12 January 2019 by Paul de Havilland
The 51 percent attack now confirmed on the Ethereum Classic highlighted altcoin. While reorg attacks are an integral part of the risk of decentralized systems, a number of altcoin communities have taken steps to avoid such attacks on their digital resources. For others, ETC attack should be a lesson for the altcoins to protect their network before they suffer a similar fate.
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Blockchain ETC rewritten 15 times
The ETC blockchain was rewritten 15 times between 5 and 7 January, with a loss of approximately 220,000 ETCs (approximately $ 1.1 million USD). As is well documented, a 51% attack occurs when an attacker gains control of most of the hash power of a network. The majority rules in decentralized working test blockchains.
As Coinbase reminded us, the original bitcoin whitepaper by Satoshi Nakamoto states that:
"If most of the CPU power is controlled by honest nodes, the honest chain will grow faster and higher than any competing chain."
The need for an honest majority is considered a known weakness of the Proof of Work blockchains. Charlie Lee of Litecoin, however, sees things differently, defending the 51% vulnerability as a feature of decentralized blockchains, not a flaw:
This is a stimulating observation. 🤔
By definition, a decentralized cryptocurrency must be susceptible to 51% attacks if with hashrate, quota and / or other resources that can not be acquired without authorization.
If an encryption can not be 51% attached, it is authorized and centralized. https://t.co/LRCVj5F0O1
– Charlie Lee [LTC⚡] (@SatoshiLite) January 8, 2019
Times have been hit in the not too distant past
A few days after the exhaustion of ink on the Pornhub deal in May 2018, Verge XVG was hit with a 51% attack, losing $ 1.9 million dollars through over-exploitation by a bad actor. This happened about a month after an attack at the beginning of April, when an attacker quickly extracted the blocks of Verge with fake timestamps, exploiting the same vulnerability. A week after the first attack, they were targeted. All in all, the spring of 2018 saw 35 million XVG coins created earlier than expected and sold.
May 2018 also saw the controversial bitcoin fork Bitcoin Gold attacked, trading points for about $ 18 million after the double spend was completed. And Vertcoin was hit in October of last year – 16 orphaned blocks suggesting that a chain reunion was accomplished through a 51% attack.
Altcoins hit 51% of attack
After a tumultuous June 2, in which he suffered three double expense attacks for losses of over $ 120,000, Horizen, the crypt formerly known as ZenCash, has updated its network to prevent miners from transmitting long chains that caused the vulnerability.
Komodo uses the bitcoin blockchain to store backups of its blockchain. It also implements a system that calls Delay the job test. In DPoW, it has 64 elected notary nodes that register a hash block from a block on the backup held in bitcoin every ten minutes. Komodo aside, the ETC incident remains a lesson for the altcoins.
But the threat remains real
If two blockchains use the same algorithm, then the smaller one will always be susceptible to the risk of an attack. And as crypto51 shows, sometimes hashrates are too low and prices high enough for an incentive to perform an attack.
The defense and the securing of their blockchains is up to the communities of altcoin. The creative approach of Komodo to the preventive resolution of security problems has been imitated by five other blockchains. Maybe it's time for the whole ecosystem altcoin to make a stronger effort to protect their blockchain and avoid further massacres.
Say yours. Does the 51 percent attack of ETC provide a lesson to organize the altcoins before they are reorganized?
Images via Pixabay