Bitcoin advocates and its competing cryptocurrency Bitcoin Cash, which has been created as a "fork" of Bitcoin's code and history, are not exactly in love with one another. The social media channels are full of quarrels on which the currency is better and which is more deserving than the name "Bitcoin".
But a Bitcoin Core developer – a person who develops code for Bitcoin – has risen above petty disputes and has done a great favor to Bitcoin Cash.
In April, Cory Fields discovered what he describes as a "critical vulnerability" in Bitcoin Cash and warned Bitcoin Cash developers that they implemented a fix before an attacker could exploit it.
After Fields had noticed a suspicious change in the Bitcoin Cash code, it took "less than 10 minutes" to find the bug, which was serious enough to cause a chain split, which (if not intentional) can cause enormous damage to cryptocurrency.
But it was not just a matter of finding the bug and reporting it. "This was a bug in a publicly available open source software, any number of people could already find out." There was nothing that would prevent anyone else from making the same discovery and exploiting it before a correction could be completely implemented, "he wrote in a Media post published Friday.
"Suppose he privately revealed the bug using my name – only that someone else found it independently and exploited it anonymously the next day," he wrote. "… billions of dollars may have been lost due to this exploit. People have been killed for a lot less, so not only anonymity was important, I considered it a necessity for my safety. "
Fields decided to report the bug anonymously, and fortunately, he was able to reach the Bitcoin Cash developer team before anyone else noticed the bug (or at least had time to exploit it).
Bitcoin ABC (the name of the Bitcoin Cash software application) published an incident report after the bug was corrected in May and promised that it would take "several actions to prevent an event from this type come back "as well as set up a formal bug bug system.
This is a good read for all those who work in cryptography. The responsible and ethical behavior of everyone in the community, regardless of ideological beliefs, should be applauded. https://t.co/DCVoOlBrif
– Vinny Lingham (@VinnyLingham) 9 August 2018
Fields' move was praised by numerous figures of cryptocurrency, including the civic CEO Vinny Lingham who tweeted that "Responsible and the ethical behavior of everyone in the community, regardless of ideological beliefs, should be applauded". Vitalik Buterin, the co-founder of Ethereum, has retweeted Lingham's tweet.
Once the second most valuable cryptocurrency, Bitcoin Cash has fallen to fourth place by market capitalization according to CoinMarketCap, and is about eleven times smaller than Bitcoin. And while there is still a lot of friction between Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash fans, Fields' example shows that it is still possible to help each other in the maximum benefit of everyone.