Litecoin (LTC) creator, Charlie Lee, has tweeted a response to a “thought-provoking observation” that has sparked off conversations within the cryptocommunity. Lee said that cannot if a network cannot suffer from a 51% attack, it is permissioned and centralized.
This is a thought-provoking observation. 🤔
By definition, a decentralized cryptocurrency must be susceptible to 51% attacks whether by hashrate, stake, and/or other permissionlessly-acquirable resources.
If a crypto can't be 51% attacked, it is permissioned and centralized. https://t.co/LRCVj5F0O1
— Charlie Lee [LTC⚡] (@SatoshiLite) January 8, 2019
What Lee is saying is that if a network is controlled to the point where it is protected from a 51% attack, it is not decentralized, whereas a decentralized network ought to, by definition, be able to permit an attack that takes over 51% of the network.
For those unaware, a 51% attack is when an entity takes control of over 50% of the network – whether hashrate or staking – thus allowing them to perform double spends and render transactions invalid.
It is important to note that Lee is not making a statement on the possibility of a network to be attacked, i.e. a network can be theoretically susceptible to a 51% attack but is not practically so. Lee’s observation refers to the idea that a democratic network must allow for the possibility that a majority could create a new chain.