It seems that trouble is brewing for Electroneum and Verge. Reports emerged on Reddit last night that both networks may have recently been under 51 percent attacks. This kind of attack happens when a malicious group of miners attempts to compromise the network by controlling more than 50 percent of a network’s mining hashrate (computing power).
This allows the malicious actors to prevent new transactions from being confirmed, which effectively halts payments on the network. This kind of attack also may enable attackers to reverse transactions that were in the confirmation process when they gained control of the network, allowing them to fraudulently spend the same coins several times, a practice known as double spending.
In Electroneum’s case, there was some speculation from the crypto community as to who might be behind the attack. “It’s possible that this attack is being conducted by Bitmain, who appears to control a large proportion of network hashrate right now,” wrote Reddit user KnifeofPi2.
Some users speculated that if a 51 percent attack was indeed underway, a hard fork may be the only way out of it. However, Electroneum’s alleged scheduled hard fork in the near future would theoretically end the attack.
Reddit user taxiboy1989 wrote that “I doubt that Bitmain or whoever is behind this attack has the current resources to carry out a 51% attack. Because if they did, they would have done it a long time ago. If it is an actual 51% attack, they could attempt it anyway as a last-ditch effort since ETN has a scheduled hard fork coming ‘soon.'”
Reddit Users Call Out Verge’s Development Team
After detecting some trouble on the Verge network, Verge’s development team sent out the following tweet:
We had a small hash attack that lasted about 3 hours earlier this morning, it’s been cleared up now. We will be implementing even more redundancy checks for things of this nature in the future! $XVG #vergefam
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— vergecurrency (@vergecurrency) April 4, 2018
Reddit user Variable42 graciously provided a rather caustic “in-depth translation” on these (less than) 140 characters.
Variable42 wrote that what the developers likely meant was that “an attacker created 10,000+ empty blocks at a rate of one per second over 3 hours. Over $1 million USD was stolen and will likely be dumped onto the market.”
“Due to no effort on our part,” the ‘translation’ continued, “the attacker seems to have stopped…Due to our own incompetency, we never implemented a very basic check in the code. But we’ll spin the situation to make it seem like this is a positive thing for the network.”
Apparently, the ‘fix’ was a hard fork of the Verge chain, according to Reddit user Izrud. However, Variable42 pointed out that the initial ‘fix’ had to be rolled back “because it was causing new wallets to get stuck when synchronizing the chain.”
“So,” continued Variable42, “the network STILL REMAINS vulnerable until they do a proper hard fork sometime tomorrow. Likely their network is still being exploited as we speak, albeit at a slower rate in order to not raise as much suspicion.”
Hopefully, the users of these networks will not be drastically affected by any of these suspicious activities. However, what happens next remains to be seen. This story is developing and will be updated with any important information.