Ethereum Classic (ETC) Introduces Surveillance System for Double Spending Attacks

Ethereum Classic (ETC), the cryptocurrency using the original Ethereum blockchain after Ethereum (ETH) forked away following the DAO hack in 2016, has just introduced an alert system that monitors suspicious activity leading up to a double-spend attack.

As previously reported by IIB, Ethereum Classic underwent a 51% attack or double-spend attack on January 5, 2019. The attack resulted in 88,500 ETC (roughly $450,000 at the time) being stolen from the ETC blockchain.

To prevent this from ever happening again, the newly appointed ETC Core team has developed an alert system that surveils the level of threat to Ethereum Classic’s blockchain. The system looks for suspicious activity based on block analysis and block propagation patterns.

Anyone can access the tool and view its status at ETCStatus.Live.

Proof-Of-Work (PoW) Networks Are Easily Susceptible to 51% Attacks

Data provided by Crypto51 shows the theoretical cost of conducting a 1-hour 51% attack on a large array of proof-of-work (PoW) blockchains. To carry out such an attack on Bitcoin (BTC) for 1 hour, it would cost nearly $290,000.

Ethereum (ETH) is the next most secure with the same attack costing almost $77,000, followed by Litecoin (LTC) with this attack costing nearly $20,000.

For Ethereum Classic (ETC), a 1-hour 51% attack would only cost $4,317, and 85% of the hashing power can be rented from Nicehash.

A ton of other altcoins are even cheaper and easier to attack, with Vertcoin costing only $155, Bitcoin Private costing just $29, MonaCoin costing $924, and many other altcoins costing less than $10 to attack for 1 hour.

One coin which has gained a ton of popularity and is touted as a highly secure protocol for the issuance of security tokens is Ravencoin. The cost to 51% attack this coin for 1 hour is just $3,728.

All in all, these coins are surprisingly cheap to 51% attack, but recent experiences show us that these types of attacks are actually not very catastrophic. The biggest risk for a double spending attack is for crypto exchanges, not the users.

As explained by CryptoVest:

“The biggest risk for double-spending is still for exchanges, which can only increase the number of confirmations, hoping they will only accept transactions as valid after it is clear that there is no double-spending possibility.

Each confirmation increases the chance that a transaction is valid, and not the result of an alternative chain propagating for a limited time.”

Ethereum Classic Unphased by 51% Attack

Following ETC’s recent 51% attack, the price of the cryptocurrency barely reacted and remains relatively stagnant at around $4.35. In fact, ETC is still a top 20 cryptocurrency as ranked by CoinMarketCap in terms of market capitalization.

Also, as pointed out by a prominent Ethereum Classic Twitter user, ETC is showing healthy network statistics:

However, though the attack didn’t necessarily harm ETC’s network in a significant way, its reputation is definitely taking a hit and invites criticism from Bitcoin maximalists who disdain all alternative cryptocurrencies.

Do you think cryptocurrencies need to better secure themselves from 51% attacks, or is this type of attack, not a big deal? Let us know what you think in the comment section below.

1 Comment

  • jeroz
    Posted January 25, 2019 9:03 am 0Likes

    The Ravencoin protocol has a hard coded limitation of 60 blocks maximum for reorgs, so if an asset or transaction was made a least 60 blocks prior (1 hour) then they are effectively locked in place and safe. All exchanges are actively told to use more than 60 confirmations (and they have). So attempting to double spend using a 51% attack on Ravencoin will have little success.

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