The Ethereum Classic blockchain has been hacked by unknown hackers in an unusual “51% attack”. This was reported by cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase through its Twitter account. Coinbase and other exchanges have since frozen trading of the token amid fears that the exceptionally rare blockchain attack has been executed.
According to Coinbase, the reorganisation of the blockchain has led to the attacker taking control of tokens worth almost $460,000. Many of the blocks produced by the suspected miner are empty, meaning that they contain no transactions. Kevin Lord, ETC community manager for blockchain engineering company IOHK, reckons it was “more of a selfish miner rather than a 51% attack.”
Accordin to Dr Patrick McCorry, assistant professor of computer science at King’s College London, as cited by Sky News, Ethereum and Ethereum Classic, are two separate cryptocurrencies and should be seen as such.
“The underlying technology of a cryptocurrency, the blockchain, is responsible for recording all transactions on the network,” Dr McCorry explained. “It gets this name because it is a chain of blocks, and every block is simply a list of authorised transactions. In Ethereum Classic, a transaction is only considered ‘final’ and ‘confirmed’ if it is in the blockchain with the most blocks.” ~ Dr. Patrick McCorry
A term which has become popular, “the blockchain” is powered by individuals “mining” transactions – using computer power to transmit information to other users – for which they are rewarded with newly minted units of the currency.
So, the attacker is suspected to have transferred close to $500,000 worth of Ethereum Classic tokens by changing the blockchain’s history. The blockchain is intended to be a distributed, transparent, and immutable ledger which uses cryptography to mathematically verify transactions and ensure everyone’s trust in the currency.
According to GasTracker, the suspected malicious miner still possesses 45% of ETC’s hashrate as measured over the past 24 hours. That means that they could score close to $30,000 in ETC block rewards, the payouts a person typically receives for securing the network.
Source: SkyNews, Quartz