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Author Topic: The 51% attack could already happen  (Read 535 times)
BitcoinGirl325
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April 08, 2013, 02:50:01 PM
 #1

The #1 biggest vulnerability with Btcoin is the 51% attack.

And it looks like the 2 largest Bitcoin mining pools, when added together, now control a total of over 53% of the nodes: http://blockchain.info/pools

What's to prevent these 2 pools from joining forces immediately, which would then enable them to wreak all sorts of havoc on Bitcoin?

For example, with over 51% control, they could claim 100 percent of the mining profits for themselves. Or they could block transactions they didn’t approve of by simply not including them in their blocks.

Similarly, the U.S. Government could easily create a pool of mining supercomputers worth millions of dollars, and easily take control of the network as well.

What is being done to prevent this sort of 51% attack? And will it be done quickly enough before it actually happens in real life?

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April 08, 2013, 03:16:30 PM
 #2

youll find the bitcoin community (even more so with the miners) wont sit idle for long if they notice there not getting paid for work they quickly change pools to a trusted one. Slush's pool aka bitcoin.cz is one of the very first pools and hasnt been corrupted yet and very very highly unlikely to be corrupted. as for the US government attacking the network i doubt it there wouldnt be any point maybe china could out of spite make a mess of something but they wouldnt gain anything from it it would take way to much money and yield way to little a reward to be worth it to them

also alot of miners me included would set up everything we have just to piss any attackers off XD if we didnt do it for profit and threw everything we had into bitcoin mining as either a defensive strategy or for the hell of it you would see atleast 4 extra 0s added to the overall hash rate and it would cost any attacker a fortune to attack the network to any effective level

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djalexr
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April 08, 2013, 03:58:00 PM
 #3

also presumably it would be pretty obvious to everybody involved that this was happening, as it would take so much collaboration - and the potential instigators would know that such a compromise would cause huge panic selling and bring the bitcoin price down so low as to make such an attack far too risky to the value of the bitcoins they currently hold

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April 09, 2013, 05:18:55 AM
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also presumably it would be pretty obvious to everybody involved that this was happening, as it would take so much collaboration
Actually, it would be obvious not because of the collaboration required, but because all the pools that are not in on it will notice their blocks are being ignored. It will be noticed pretty much instantly, and once the miners of the attacking pool realise their pool is performing a 51% attack, they'll leave en masse for other pools, as almost all miners are either in it for the money or for the benefit of the network, and neither group wants any part of 51% attack (the first group doesn't want the massive price drop that a 51% attack is likely to cause, and the second group doesn't want a 51% attack simply as a matter of principle). When they leave, the attacking pool no longer has 51% and the attack is over, hopefully before they were able to cause any real damage.

Will pretend to do unverifiable things (while actually eating an enchilada-style burrito) for bitcoins: 1K6d1EviQKX3SVKjPYmJGyWBb1avbmCFM4
BitcoinGirl325
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April 09, 2013, 05:35:19 AM
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also presumably it would be pretty obvious to everybody involved that this was happening, as it would take so much collaboration
Actually, it would be obvious not because of the collaboration required, but because all the pools that are not in on it will notice their blocks are being ignored. It will be noticed pretty much instantly, and once the miners of the attacking pool realise their pool is performing a 51% attack, they'll leave en masse for other pools, as almost all miners are either in it for the money or for the benefit of the network, and neither group wants any part of 51% attack (the first group doesn't want the massive price drop that a 51% attack is likely to cause, and the second group doesn't want a 51% attack simply as a matter of principle). When they leave, the attacking pool no longer has 51% and the attack is over, hopefully before they were able to cause any real damage.

Lets hope so! Smiley This makes sense.

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casperorchids
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April 09, 2013, 05:44:29 AM
 #6

I think an overaggressive Government might try it as a last resort to save the fiat, but by then wouldn't over 50% of the overall bitcoin already be spread out too thin? I might not understand all of this, but isn't nearly 11 million Bitcoin already recovered, so aren't those bitcoins in peoples wallets and at Mt Gox?

Please somebody help me retrieve my bitcoin, please... https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=171037.0 Nobody seems to want to take the time to answer my post
Wenter
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April 09, 2013, 05:47:30 AM
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Similarly, the U.S. Government could easily create a pool of mining supercomputers worth millions of dollars, and easily take control of the network as well.

I don't think that the US government is very likely to do that, since the bitcoin doesn't yet possess a danger to the US dollar when it comes to daily payments, but also international transfers and it won't "steal" the dollar's position for a long time. It's for a very simple reason; there are still a lot of people whose mentality wouldn't make paying with a currency which doesn't exist IRL logical. Bitcoins are therefore very unlikely to be attacked by a government of any country, unless the things I named above change.
ScrapOfCat
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April 09, 2013, 05:59:13 AM
 #8

... It's for a very simple reason; there are still a lot of people whose mentality wouldn't make paying with a currency which doesn't exist IRL logical. ...

I make payments with currency that doesn't exist IRL practically everyday using my Visa card.

I have never touched a single one of the thousands of dollars that I have spent in this fashion.

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Foxpup
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April 09, 2013, 06:11:46 AM
 #9

I think an overaggressive Government might try it as a last resort to save the fiat, but by then wouldn't over 50% of the overall bitcoin already be spread out too thin? I might not understand all of this, but isn't nearly 11 million Bitcoin already recovered, so aren't those bitcoins in peoples wallets and at Mt Gox?
A 51% has nothing to do with the amount of bitcoins one owns, only the amount of computing power one controls.

Will pretend to do unverifiable things (while actually eating an enchilada-style burrito) for bitcoins: 1K6d1EviQKX3SVKjPYmJGyWBb1avbmCFM4
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April 09, 2013, 06:12:29 AM
 #10

I was mining with slush when I first started. I went over to BTGuild for a while thinking it was just another pool. Now I see I should go back to slush..I could mine name coins for free. Ultimately the creators could amend the workings to cope.
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April 09, 2013, 07:06:16 AM
 #11

This site tends to be a bit more accurate as it pulls the blocks from the pools websites.

http://blockorigin.pfoe.be/top.php

eleuthria has already discussed this and has plan in place

https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=168108.0

Could two of the top pools join together maybe, unlikely though as its of no real benefit for them in the long term. As it would devalue bitcoin and that is no use to them.

On the government tinfoil hat side. With the rise of asic its it is making it harder for anyone to do that. But if they really wanted to attack it. There are easier ways eg restricting trade back to fiat money.

Have a read in the pools sub forum and a few another ones its been/is being discussed endlessly.
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