- The Ethereum Classic Cooperative development team partners with Input Output Hong Kong (IOHK) to counter the numerous 51% attacks on the Ethereum Classic (ETC) blockchain.
An announcement from the ETC lead development team, ETC Coop, the company has collaborated with IOHK “to provide Ethereum Classic stakeholders and the broader community with the knowledge and understanding of how to resist issues” these 51% hack attempts.
Since the start of 2020, the Ethereum Classic blockchain has faced three 51% attacks in successive weeks, leading to a loss of users’ funds from network disruptions and double-spending. In total, from 2019, ETC has faced four 51% attack attempts, leading to the community setting up upgraded Ethereum Classic Improvement Proposals (ECIPs) in the near past.
Some of the recent changes to prevent 51% attacks include defensive mining and implementing the ‘Permapoint’ finality arbitration system to curb chain reorganizations. Now the IOHK, ETC Coop teams have released a report highlighting six possible solutions to the risk of 51% attacks.
With the recent 51% attacks, #ETC is at a crossroads. To mitigate against these attacks and secure the ETC Network, the teams at IOHK and @ETCCooperative have created a report reviewing the options for the @eth_classic community.
— Input Output (@InputOutputHK) October 20, 2020
The solutions include the ECIP 1100, or Modified Exponential Subjective Scoring (MESS) proposal close to implementation. This aims to implement Vitalik Buterin’s idea of making chain reorganizations harder and more expensive. However, the two teams are not fully convinced that MESS will solve its problems, and further 51% attacks could still occur.
The teams have released five more solutions to 51% of attacks, including proven methods such as Checkpointing and Timestamping, and other unproven methods such as Rootstock (RSK) sidechain, PirlGuard, and Veriblock.
Checkpointing aims at making mined blocks irreversible on the blockchain by establishing checkpoints. On the other hand, Timestamping will leverage the security of Bitcoin to creating a new timestamp on every block and recording it as a transaction on Bitcoin (BTC).
Implementing the RSK proposal will also require developers to timestamp ETC block data such as block height and hash on the Bitcoin network but connect it to sidechains. The blockchain will need to be connected to the Rootstock network, own RBTC, and participate in auctions on UMM times every day.
PirlGuard aims at making 51% of attacks more expensive for the attacker to stop them. However, there remain concerns that a good enough incentive could lead to a future attack.
Despite the changes, the ETC Coop team is working on longer-term solutions to avoid the increasing attacks on the platform to build a sustainable network.
“But let’s also ensure we remember the longer-term goal – the health and sustainable success of Ethereum Classic.”