Altcoin exchange MintPal has notified the public of a massive theft of 8 million vericoins (VRC). The amount represents nearly one third of the 26.8 million vericoins in existence.
It is one of the largest single thefts of cryptocurrency ever, and the largest for an altcoin. In dollar value, the theft exceeds that of the 500 million dogecoins stolen last month, which netted their attacker at most $1 million if all were liquidated during Dogecoin’s peak. Surprisingly, Vericoin’s value remains mostly unchanged.
Vericoin employs a hybrid proof-of-stake/proof-of-work algorithm.
The Vericoin wallet was available online and an unauthorized withdrawal was made. Bitcoin and Litecoin balances, which are held in cold storage, were unaffected.
Currently, Vericoin trading is suspended.
Upon learning of the attack, MintPal worked closely with the Vericoin community in an effort to minimize the damage.
Vericoin’s team opted to hard fork the coin’s blockchain in order to render the stolen coins unusable. New wallets are now available for download.
MintPal has pledged to cover losses.
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Initially after the attack, attempts were made to roll back the blockchain to exclude the theft transaction. Coindesk reports that this scheme didn’t work, since older clients mistakenly approved the transaction.
A second hard fork was created yesterday, which orphaned blocks containing the theft transaction.
The steps taken to intervene clearly demonstrate an element of centralization inherent in cryptocurrency’s operations, which previously sought to keep transactions irreversible and out of 3rd party control. Just as a bank would roll back, correct or otherwise cancel a transaction, so to the crypto community has found similar action highly beneficial on more than one occasion.
Indeed, debate has broken out on Vericoin’s reddit as to how this can be reconciled with their mission, with one user declaring his quitting of the community:
“I really thought I had found a good coin to go long with. Besides my current BTC and LTC holdings I wanted something else to round out my portfolio. Initially I was very optimistic about Vericoin but the resent hard fork has proved a few things for me:
The devs, while very active will make major decisions without any consensus from the community.
Vericoin is very centralized.
POS is too insecure in its current state.
So, all the best to Vericoin and the community. I sincerely hope to see the value soar. For me, I will be converting all back to BTC until I find another coin that looks like a solid investment.”