The co-founder and CEO of decentralized cloud storage network Sia, David Vorick, has predicted that 51% attacks will increase dramatically in 2019. This comes hot on the heels of Ethereum Classic suffering such as an attack, as CCN recently reported.
Sia Dev Portends Increasing Number of 51% Attacks
According to Vorick, who is also Sia’s lead developer, 51% attacks – where a group of miners gains control of more than 50% of the computing power of a network – are now a risk for major cryptocurrencies and not just small cap-coins.
Vorick has blamed fundamental weaknesses in the protocols of the targeted coins for the success of the attacks. Specifically, the protocols are not incentive-compatible, as is the case with Bitcoin:
Bitcoin developers strive for something called incentive compatibility. If a protocol has incentive compatibility, it means that the optimal decision for each individual from their own perspective is also the optimal decision for the group as a whole. When protocols are incentive-compatible, individuals can be completely selfish because those selfish actions will benefit the group as well.
Bitcoin’s Protocol Design
So why not just copy Bitcoin’s protocol design if it’s that secure? According to Vorick, the majority of the cryptocurrencies have done that, but then they made changes which broke the incentive compatibility.
Among the biggest mistakes altcoin developers have made, per Vorick, includes making it possible to use shared hardware. This is because when the same hardware is used to mine multiple coins, incentive compatibilities break down. Incentive compatibility also breaks down when there is a shared algorithm among multiple cryptocurrencies:
When multiple cryptocurrencies share the same proof of work algorithm, the same hardware (even if that hardware is specialized) is able to target any of the cryptocurrencies and this disrupts the incentive compatibility in many of the same ways that ASIC resistance does.
Factors which have enabled 51% attacks include the maturing of hashrate marketplaces, as this has allowed attackers easy and fast access to computing power when attempting to attack.
Reduced Cost of Attacking
Prior to the existence of hashrate marketplaces, attackers would have required an equivalent number of the graphics processing units (GPU) that were defending a cryptocurrency. Expenses incurred to carry out such an attack were prohibitive, and this ensured that GPU coins remained largely safe. The development of hashrate marketplaces has, however, made it possible to hire GPUs for a couple of hours at a fraction of the cost.
Another development that has made shared hardware coins more insecure is the growth of large mining farms. This has particularly been the case for cryptocurrencies whose hashrate comprises several hundred thousand GPUs.
As a solution for the 51% attacks, Vorick has proposed that cryptocurrency exchanges increase confirmation times for deposits. Additionally, Vorick has urged exchanges to adopt more stringent risk management measures while exercising more diligence in choosing the coins they list.
Binance DEX will not have access to your coins, unless you disobey rules
Twitter user @ImShillGates has brought to the attention the fine print on the upcoming Binance Decentralized Exchange (DEX) which states that your funds can in fact be taken from you by Binance.
In a recent tweet by @ImShillGates, the users posts an image with the fine print of the Binance DEX. The terms clearly state that “your wallet is not accessible by Binance, and Binance will not keep your Keystore files, passwords, mnemonic phrases and/or private keys”
However, on the same page the terms and conditions go on to explain what prohibit uses are not allowed on the DEX, followed by a conclusion paragraph stating that Binance has the right to “confiscation of any digital tokens obtained in any prohibited use”. The paragraph also states that “Binance may, at its sole and absolute discretion, seize and hand over your property to law enforcement or other authorities where circumstances warrant”.
Binance User: Hey @cz_binance, on your decentralized exchange, it says you don't have access to our coins, but then at the bottom, it says u can seize our coins if u see fit. Which is it?@cz_binance: Yes pic.twitter.com/BGah4WyFlK
— SHILL GATES (@ImShillGates) April 24, 2019
The main concern for users of Binance DEX will be surrounding how decentralized the new exchange really is. While the wording appears to be targeting users who attempt to defraud or scam other users or sell stolen tokens, the potential to start seizing funds for other reasons remains a possibility based on the discretion of Binance. While the Binance DEX maybe an attempt to be decentralized, perhaps the DEX is not really decentralized at all.
If the Binance DEX was a true DEX they couldn’t take your coins or keys.
— NATENEX (@NAT3N3X) April 25, 2019
They aren’t your friends .. they will confiscate it all..not a true DEX
— CryptoEagle (@rhb_3000) April 25, 2019
That fine print is tricky!🤐🤐🤐
— KUBO_OF_CLASS-83 (@83Kubo) April 25, 2019
XRP Price Needs a Small Miracle to Stay Above $0.3
As the Bitcoin price continues its slightly unexpected negative trend, the alternative markets are scrambling to make up lost ground. That is much easier said than done, as none of the top markets is able to contain the losses right now. The XRP price is going down a very slippery slope, as a drop below $0.3 seems very plausible all of a sudden.
XRP Price Starts to go Downhill Fast
In the volatile world of cryptocurrencies, tokens, and digital assets, there are always specific market trends which might not make too much sense. Even though Bitcoin is currently down by a few percent, the alternative markets easily lose 5% or more. Even XRP is facing tremendous pressure right now, which is not necessarily something people had expected.
To be more specific, the XRP price has lost 6.86% as it now sits barely above $0.3. This is very different from the $0.325 level which was still in place until a few hours ago. Combined with the extra 4.52% loss in XRP/BTC, it quickly becomes evident things are not looking good. At this rate, XRP will easily drop below 5,000 Satoshi in the near future, which isn’t necessarily a promising development.
As the price woes continue to keep a lot of people engaged, the Twitterverse is looking at things from a different angle. Dsavino would love to see XRP supported by ErisX, although the company has not indicated such plans at this time. This unified platform for spot and CFTC-regulated futures products is worth keeping an eye on, even if it doesn’t support Ripple’s native asset.
You will soon recognize that #XRP is One Step Beyond…hopefully you will add it 👍🏻🍻
— Dsavino (@Dsavino13) April 24, 2019
There is another interesting observation brought to the masses by Mr. B XRP. He would like to remind people how RippleNet has been evolving as of late and how popular this technology has become in Japan lately. It is certainly a global expansion, although there is always more work to be done to improve upon the existing infrastructure.
… we are very close. BULLISH 😈
— Krypto Kris (@KryptoKrisXRP) April 24, 2019
It will be interesting to see where XRP’s price will end up at in a few hours from now. A dip below $0.3 is not dramatic by any means, although it will undoubtedly trigger some mild panic. The XRP/BTC ratio, on the other hand, continues to take potshots every single day, regardless of the overall industry trend.
Bitcoin’s [BTC] security is 100 times more than that of Bitcoin Cash’s [BCH], says Litecoin creator
Charlie Lee, Creator of Litecoin [LTC] and Managing Director of Litecoin Foundation, spoke about projects that allocate mining rewards to developers, in an interview with Laura Shin for Unchained Podcast. He also opined about whether Litecoin’s vision still remained the same or not.
On projects that allocate a percentage of the block reward to developers, Lee stated that it was “okay” as long as the project developers were transparent on this subject, adding that in some cases, this was “needed”. He further stated that it was hard to find developers for Litecoin since, there were not enough funds to pay these developers.
[…] we work on raising money and using money to pay for developers but unlike ICOs or other projects we just don’t have millions sitting from selling our ICO tokens to fund these developers. So, yeah I think projects that do that it’s kind of needed […]”
However, Lee stated that for cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and Litecoin that really want to become decentralized money, there cannot be any centralized actions like using mining rewards to pay developers.
This was followed by Lee speaking about Litecoin’s vision and the coin’s use case. On this, Lee stated that the current vision was still “very similar” to the old one, seeing Litecoin as a complement to Bitcoin. He added that Litecoin’s raison d’être was not to replace Bitcoin, unlike some other coins that claim to be the better version of Bitcoin.
“[…] I think it’s trade-off. So, a lot of people don’t talk about the trade-offs people talk about how they have fees are cheaper […] people in support of Bitcoin Cash constantly talk about how Bitcoin Cash transaction fees are like a hundredth of that of Bitcoin but, you get what you pay for right […]”
He further added that Bitcoin’s “security was more than hundred times” that of Bitcoin Cash, irrespective of the hash rate being more or not. Lee remarked that one cannot “attack Bitcoin,” whereas Bitcoin Cash could be “eas[ily] be attacked,” adding that this factor was very important and also the reason for cheaper fees.