Geocold51: How Easy it is to Execute the 51% AttackBTC Casino / 25th October 2018
There are many cases where college freshmen were actually held down by their professors. The limits enforced by the institution have been a cage for those smart enough to think ahead and for themselves. One such example is a college freshman, who is ready to steal your cryptocurrency just to prove it can be done with ease. A security researcher with the nickname “geocold51”, shares his worries about small-scale cryptocurrencies.
He believes that all of these cryptocurrencies are potential victims of the 51% attack. With smaller-scale cryptocurrencies having less mining power, it’s easier for the potential attackers to take over 51% of the network. Of course this doesn’t mean that large-scale cryptocurrencies are immune.
Their networks just have so much hash power that a 51% attack would take an immense amount of resources. Horizen also came up with their own strategy to go against the ever-increasing 51% attacks.
This lead to October 13th when geocold51 wanted to prove that the attack was easy to pull off. He started livestreaming his attack on Bitcoin Private. This cryptocurrency has around a $47 million market cap.
According to geocold51, he had to spend around $100 to the point where he could demonstrate how to do a double spend. Before the demonstration could take place, the livestream got cut.
Geocold51 is messaging the world
Geocold51 made his intentions perfectly clear. He stated that all demonstrations are aimed at different accounts, all of which belong solely to him. The exchange, other users or providers are not hurt by his actions.
The aim of the demonstration was for people to see how overvalued some cryptocurrencies are. With the sheer amount of vulnerabilities they have, some people would now say, way too overvalued. He later explained that it would cost an attacker double, basically $200 in order to buy some bitcoin on an exchange with his own bitcoin private.
Afterwards the attacker can make another transaction on the longer chain. The second transaction will invalidate the first, giving the attacker his bitcoin private coins back. This will of course leave the exchange hanging.
Geocold51 later explained that such an attack is very expensive because of the rise of cloud computing. He said that without access to cloud computing, attempting such an attack on bitcoin private would have up to $100 000 in hardware costs. Geocold51’s stream was announced on Reddit and managed to catch a lot of attention.
Of course the young man had to be inspired and he got his inspiration from a fellow security researcher. His inspiration came from geohot, who was responsible for the jailbreak of the first iPohne. The jailbreak removed restrictions on carriers and apps. Today’ geohot is livestreaming himself and searches for vulnerabilities to show people.
Taking the jailbreak as his example, Geocold51 thought he could do the same with cryptos. The young security expert obviously has a lot of knowledge on the crypto ecosystem. When GPU mining was still profitable, he managed to mine a lot of bitcoin for himself. He later became a victim of Cryptsy, the exchange which had its CEO run off with millions in crypto from its user base. This event lead to Geocold51 losing almost all of his bitcoin.
It’s important to note that his original attack target wasn’t bitcoin private. He intended to go after einsteinium. Einsteinium has a lower market cap than bitcoin private with $19 million and has a trading volume of around $600 000 per day.
Geocold51 did what many developers fear in less than a few hours
Since the upcoming attack and target were announced publicly, the einsteinium community took precautions. They boosted the hash rate and geocold51 simply switched targets. His livestream on twitch peaked at about 60K viewers before the shutdown. An hour or so later he set up another stream at Stream.Me and managed to hire miners via Nicehash to mine bitcoin private.
He managed to mine a block instantaneously, which lead to him controlling more than 50% of the hash power on the blockchain in no time. Now after the stream was ended it’s important to figure out why such a young and obviously gifted individual hasn’t been offered a position fitting his exceptional skills.
A young and talented individual showing incredible knowledge, self-restraint and willing to help the entire community MUST be noticed from companies. Of course if geocold51 does not wish to work for companies or governments he should be able to do so.
But if this extremely talented young man is denied the proper tools to cultivate and grow his exceptional talent than the loss is not of a company or a government it’s a loss for the entire blockchain and crypto community.
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