Speaking on a panel at the Unitize digital conference, about proof-of-work (PoW) attacks, James Lovejoy of MIT’s Digital Currency Initiative, or DCI, said that the 51% attacks may not be evident, despite the public nature of blockchain.
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Blockchains don’t always show 51% attacks at first glance, Lovejoy explained in the July 9 panel. „You need an active observer to monitor the network, to see whether or not an attack is occurring,“ he said.
Lovejoy has a blockchain reorganization tracker
For his DCI master’s thesis, Lovejoy created a blockchain reorganization tracker, or reorganization tracker, which examines 51% attacks, he detailed on the panel.
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The expert explained that recent research shows that 51% attacks are more plausible than previously thought. He described the feasibility of such reorganizations among assets in crypto space, given the varying hash rates of those assets, the costs associated with attacks and other factors.
Victims receive the first blow of an attack
By the time the market discovers foul play in a blockachain without a tracker, people may already have suffered the repercussions. „So far we’ve depended on victims to tell us if they’ve been attacked,“ Lovejoy said.
„As you can imagine, if this results in insolvency or loss of user funds, victims are often not very interested in revealing when an attack has occurred,“ he added. Lovejoy also detailed a wealth of other relevant information and findings during the panel.
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Multiple attacks of 51% have emerged in recent years, plaguing projects like Ethereum Classic and Cryptosoft Gold, which show behavior as infamous as it is far from impossible.