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Things just got MESSy for potential Ethereum Classic 51% attackers

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Over the past weekend, on block 11380000, a solution for the prevention of 51% attacks was introduced to the Ethereum Classic (ETC) community. Several such attacks have recently placed ETC at a crossroads, leaving the very survival of the chain uncertain. In the weeks that followed these attacks, the community worked to evaluate numerous potential solutions. 

The first one that has been implemented is called MESS, which stands for Modified Exponential Subjective Scoring. Its predecessor was first suggested by Vitalik Buterin back in 2014. It builds on the assumption that while small chain reorganizations that go back a few blocks are perfectly normal, the ones proposing reorganizations going back hundreds and even thousands of blocks are highly suspicious.

With most proof-of-work blockchains, the longest chain with the most work wins. This means that malicious attackers must mine a longer chain in isolation and then, propose it to the world. This was the case during recent attacks, which cost honest participants millions of dollars.

MESS polynomial curve. Source: Ethereum Classic Improvement Proposal 1100.

MESS disincentivizes shadow mining by weighing chains differently depending on the time of publication. Isaac Ardis, one of ETC Core’s developers, explained this mechanism to Cointelegraph:

“The intention with that is to weight chains which occur and are available first over chains that come later. And so in that way, there is an incentive to publish work on the chain and it disincentivizes chains that are defined in private and that would come later.”

The algorithm employs a multiplier that determines the required difficulty from a proposed chain in order to be considered canonical. The multiplier ranges from 1 to 31 and depends on the aforementioned time of publication. The more suspicious the proposed reorganization, the higher the multiplier. Thus a shadow chain would have to provide manifold more proof-of-work to be deemed canonical.

MESS does not make 51% attacks impossible as it is rather a probabilistic and not deterministic solution, but it makes them prohibitively expensive. This is one of the reasons why the community has discussed implementing it in conjunction with a checkpointing solution. Ardis said that although it is a possibility, there does not seem to be much benefit to this duplication:

“Though you can use them together, you may not have to use them together and may not even want to use them together.”

MESS has several advantages. The code base is compact and it will not require a hard fork to implement. The nodes that choose to run MESS will be compatible with the ones that do not. Any discordance will only come into play when and if another 51% attack happens, said Ardis:

“If there is a large attack, then the miners, the operators and the nodes who have activated MESS, we certainly hope, will successfully dissuade the attacker while those nodes that haven’t upgraded would move to the attacker’s chain.”

The assumption is that most of these attacks tend to be short-termed and opportunistic. Once the attacker leaves, the remaining honest miners will rejoin the canonical fork.

MESS appears to be a short to mid-term solution. Although Ardis believes than no chain is immune from a 51% attack, he agreed that the only viable protection is the network’s growth. One of the bets is on Ethereum (ETH) miners joining Ethereum Classic after the former migrates to the proof-of-stake consensus. Another is taking advantage of the compatibility between the two networks, which allows for a painless migration from a congested Ethereum to Ethereum Classic. Ardis said that now that they are done with this mess, the team can focus on developing new tools for ETC.



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Ethereum 2.0 deposit contract to launch this week: ConsenSys dev

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ConsenSys developer Ben Edgington has published an update that predicts the ETH 2.0 beacon chain genesis will happen within the next six to eight weeks.

In a post announcing the launch of ‘V1.0.0 release candidate 0’, Edgington revealed the protocol’s deposit contract address feature should be announced this week. The deposit contract allows ETH to be sent between Ethereum and ETH 2.0, and is one of the few remaining updates needed to facilitate the roll-out of ETH 2.0 phase 0:

“As I understand it, we are good to go: deposit contract in the next few days; beacon chain genesis 6-8 weeks later.”

However, the PegaSys engineering group developer emphasized his prediction “is not an official statement.”

To complete phase 0’s launch, 500,000 Ether will need to be locked for staking after the beacon chain goes live, followed by a week-long genesis delay to give the network time to prepare.

According to Edgington, the new release also strengthens Ethereum against denial-of-service attacks, implements the genesis delay and a temporary quadrupling of penalty fees.

Penalties were increased in response to the “slightly bumpy” genesis “dress rehearsal” on the Spadina test network at the end of September, and what is now “very low participation” on the Medalla testnet.

The developer described the fee hike as “a temporary measure to give stakers more confidence in case we hit trouble.” Despite low testnet participation, Edgington firmly believes the network is ready to transition into phase 0:

“I think people are getting a bit bored of testnests. It’s time to move on […] we need to launch Phase 0 asap.”

Edgington’s post comes after a successful trial on the Zinken testnet last week, which Set Protocol’s Anthony Sassano described as the “second last dress rehearsal testnet before we finally set an ETH 2 phase 0 mainnet launch date.”



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3 Trends Show Ethereum Is On Track For Strong Growth in 2021

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  • Ethereum has undergone a strong drop from its year-to-date highs at $490.
  • The coin currently trades for $375, around 25% below those highs.
  • At the worst of the correction last month, the coin was down even further.
  • Ethereum remains bullish on a long-term basis as long-term trends favor bulls, analysts say.
  • One trader recently shared a chart indicating that both the technicals and fundamentals favor bulls.

Three Ethereum Trends Suggest the Coin Is Primed to See Rapid Growth

Ethereum remains in a bullish state from a macro perspective after a strong 25% correction from the year-to-date highs, analysts say.

One analyst, the head of technical analysis at Blockfyre, recently shared the chart below. It shows that the cryptocurrency has recently formed two bullish macro technical signs: ETH has broken out of a 715-day range while it is forming a series of higher highs and higher lows, suggesting the formation of an uptrend.

Not to mention, Ethereum’s 2.0 upgrade is slated to begin in the near future with the rolling out of phase zero. This may drive capital into ETH as investors seek to capture the yield offered in the coin.

“$ETH Notes on Chart: 2.0 Coming, HH + HL on top of 715 day range, break PoB to ATH’s. You’re bearish? Buy + Hold + Wealth Drop the LTF bias.” 

Chart of ETH's price action over the past three years with analysis by crypto trader and head of TA at BLockfyre Pentoshi.
Source: ETHUSD from TradingView.com

Competition Abound?

While Ethereum may be strong in its own right, the coin may face competition from other blockchains that could suppress ETH upside.

According to a Bloomberg article released on Oct. 17, Polkadot is an Ethereum blockchain killer. It is a recently-launched blockchain network that uses a network of sidechains that are customizable by developers to facilitate a much better user experience than its predecessor.

Outlier Ventures reported that the number of Polkadot developments has begun to increase, boding well for the network.

“While developer interest in Bitcoin and Ethereum has declined, the number of monthly active developers building on Polkadot increased by 44% in the 12 months ended in May, the report found.”

It is currently unclear how much of an effect a rising Polkadot will have on ETH. But it’s worth noting that Ethereum has faced some setbacks over recent months as the cost of transactions has increased rapidly and as the high block times have begun to limit some development.

Photo by Florian Olivo on Unsplash
Price tags: ethusd, ethbtc
Charts from TradingView.com
3 Technical Trends Show Ethereum Is On Track For Strong Growth in 2021





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The Crucial Level to Watch as Ethereum Prepares to Shoot Toward $700

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  • Ethereum topped out dramatically in August when it hit $490, then crashed.
  • The coin currently trades for $370, 25% below those highs.
  • Analysts think that Ethereum could soon shoot higher as the macro trend remains bullish.
  • ETH will need to hold a crucial support level in the $300 range, then decisively surmount the year-to-date highs around the high-$400s.
  • Institutions are getting bullish alongside technical analysts.
  • Grayscale Investments recently revealed that it has accumulated 2% of all of the cryptocurrency in circulation.

Ethereum Could Shoot Toward $600-700: Here’s Why

Analysts think that Ethereum is on track to shoot towards $600-700 in the coming months and years as long as it holds pivotal support in the vicinity of $300.

The head of technical analysis at Blockfyre, a crypto-asset research company, recently said on the matter:

“ETH price discovery. 2021 Glaringly obvious only the patient will win but there’s trades to be taken within… $700 likely isn’t too far off. Eth 2.0 Phase 0 within a week could be one of many bullish catalysts although I just don’t think it looks as bullish as BTC. I refuse to not have it in my portfolio. It is the lifeline of alts, and has massive changes ahead.”

Chart of ETH's price action over the past few years with analysis by crypto trader and the had of TA at Blockfyre, Pentoshi.
Source: BTCUSD from TradingView.com

This bullish sentiment has been echoed by other analysts.

One analyst noted that a macro analysis of Ethereum suggests that as long as $350 holds, the coin will double to $700 over time. 

Institutions Accumulate ETH En-Masse

There is an institutional aspect of the ongoing Ethereum market trend, boosting the chance the asset moves to the upside.

Barry Silbert, founder and CEO of leading digital asset investor the Digital Currency Group, recently said that Grayscale Investments owns 2% of all Ethereum now. This means that the firm holds $800 million worth of the coin, or approximately 2.2 million ETH.

Institutions are accumulating Ethereum as the decentralized finance (DeFi) revolution grows. Spencer Noon, head of DTC Capital, says on the matter:

“My read on #DeFi after speaking with instl investors, fund mgrs, OTC desks, and FOs over the last few wks: The herd is coming. They’re excited about DeFi but new to it, so they’re buying $ETH first.”

Analysts think that continued institutional investment in ETH will drive prices dramatically higher.

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Price tags: ethusd, ethbtc
Carts from TradingView.com
The Crucial Level to Watch as Ethereum Prepares to Shoot Toward $600





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