Bad guys are always looking for a way to get something for nothing, and this is true — perhaps even especially true — with cryptocurrency. 51% attacks were known to be at least theoretically possible since the birth of Bitcoin; in fact, the possibility was mentioned in Satoshi Nakamoto’s original whitepaper:
“ The incentive may help encourage nodes to stay honest. If a greedy attacker is able to assemble more CPU power than all the honest nodes, he would have to choose between using it to defraud people by stealing back his payments or using it to generate new coins. He ought to find it more profitable to play by the rules, such rules that favour him with more new coins than everyone else combined, than to undermine the system and the validity of his own wealth.”
Probably the biggest deterrent against Bitcoin being subjected to one of these attacks at this time is their mining difficulty, which would make an attack prohibitively expensive. Other coins, however, are not so lucky. This resource lists the potential expense of a 51% attack on many popular coins: https://www.crypto51.app/
If I were of a less morally guided persuasion, I would look over this list and pick the coin with the highest value and the lowest potential attack cost and have my way with them. Relax guys, aside from my morals, I’m also not that technically proficient (LOL).
In the last few days, two big cryptocurrency projects have fallen prey to attack. With a market cap of over $792 million, Bitcoin Gold (BTG) is the highest ranking blockchain to suffer such an attack. The perpetrator got away with 388,201 BTG coins, worth approximately $17.8 million. Meanwhile, Verge (XVG) is having a bad couple of months after allegedly suffering the same type of “time warp” attack for the second time, resulting in the minting of 35 million additional XVG coins which caused their price to plummet. As an amusing aside, Litecoin’s Charlie Lee made a chuckle-inducing tweet where he noted that “Someone has 51% attacked and taken over the Verge network again. PornHub transactions are being reversed!” (Oh my!)
So what’s the cure for this pox on the Cryptoverse? The DAPS project may have the answer. The coin is still under development, but the planned features are laid out in their whitepaper which can be found at www.dapscoin.com. This coin will be Proof of Stake with Masternodes only, it will not be minable. The Masternode system will be modelled from the PIVX system which utilizes a See-Saw balance reward system that can switch from 60/40 to 40/60 MN/POS. This system makes a 51% attack impossible unless both layers are compromised simultaneously which would be both difficult and prohibitively expensive, given that the DAPS Masternode collateral is 1 million coins.
Additionally, the DAPS project is working on a revolutionary new Proof-of-Audit protocol called Harpocrates, which aims to solve the issue of Trust in a Trustless system. This will be a new and much-needed addition to a true anonymous blockchain, which would otherwise be subject to node owners colluding off chain for nefarious purposes. More details about this protocol will be released in its own whitepaper in the coming months.
DAPS will be the innovator that will not only bring privacy to new heights but will take safety along for the ride. If other coins follow in this project’s footsteps, the future of blockchain looks brighter indeed.