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Author Topic: 51% attack (and prevention of) on smaller alts - Let's Discuss it!  (Read 504 times)
WASPJoe
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May 21, 2014, 06:17:33 PM
 #1

Hello alt-coiners,
I have been watching the coinotron 51% litecoin scare and was discussing some things in the thread related to 51% attacks and alt coins.

I wanted to open up a discussion with other pool ops and miners on their thoughts about 51% on smaller alts. I want to hear others experiences and ideas about what should be done to prevent it (if anything). As was discussed in another thread, should a pool (or does your pool) have a way to prevent more than 50% of the network hashing power to be on your pool?

Here's a bit of the discussion I would like to continue.

Quote from: WASPJoe

I'm going just going to put it bluntly. It's not coinotron's fault for the near 51%
He's providing a service and is trying to do what he can. Being a jerk won't get things changed any more rapidly


I have seen coinotron support a number of alt coins, and while the whole 51% scenario seems scary, on smaller alts it happens all the time. While I'm not saying >50% of the network is a "good" thing, there are a lot worse pools for it to happen on. I have never seen coinotron intentionally try to hurt a network.

It is the responsibility of the miner to make sure that she/he is not on a pool nearing 50%, it's just common sense that is being thrown out the window. I truly think that ASIC's are to blame for this. ASIC mining hardware allows a smaller learning curve, higher hashpower, and for less money. This is causing a lot of newbies to start mining. Since most of these people who are mining now days have not been mining for a while, they do not understand the complexities of pool mining. Coinotron's enticing PPS and RBPPS systems are going to draw in a lot of people because there are very few PPS and RBPPS systems.

On smaller SHA alts, asic's have been an issue for a long time. A good block monitoring system can alert a miner when blocks are changing rapidly and alert when there are issues in the block chain.

With gpu mining profits going down, I bet a lot of people are trying to go back to litecoin as it is the most known "alt", and certainly the price of litecoin has stood the test of time.

Any way the dice roll, I still support you coinotron.

I never used Coinotron, and I think hes done well for himself and his miners, so I am not being a jerk (sorry if it came off that way), but anyone who thinks a pool operator couldn’t fix this before it became a problem is being ignorant.  Lets use the "Maximum Occupancy" sign you find in most establishments, as metaphor.  You walk into a place of business, it states 40 is the maximum occupancy on the wall. Its up to the owners of that establishment to enforce this otherwise deal with the repercussions, it is not up to the patroons (granted, they CAN help, but usually wont). A pool that supports a very important coin is no different, if the maximum safe occupancy is being breached, close the doors before something bad happens.

"Something bad happens".  This doesnt even have to mean Coinotrons owner is the one doing the harm.  Imagine a malicious hacker that wants to just destroy Litecoin, gains access to a large pools stratum servers and has their way with them. It has happened before to altcoins.  The pool could have zero bad intentions, and still aid in the destruction of Litecoin.

This again, isn't fact, but my 0.02 cents again.  Coinotron would be making "financial suicide" by not keeping his (minimally paying 1.5% fee) ASIC miners like this: http://www.coinwarz.com/calculators/litecoin-mining-calculator/?h=1500000&p=1&pc=0.10&pf=0.00&d=7877.63390450&r=50.00000000&er=0.02168000&btcer=494.24000000&hc=0.00

So I understand the turmoil this causes a pool op, but at the same time, reputation is king.



Okay glad i was mis-reading the post.

Anyway, yeah I do agree that a pool op can put a maximum number of allowed clents/hashrate. The issue there would be problems with random connects and disconnects. If a miner's disconnected after being connected, and another miner comes on. Then that first miner who was in the queued slot will not be able to connect. Service disruptions can do a lot of bad things for a pool as well.

I also think what you meant by very important is a coin with a large foot print, as there are other alts that some think are very important that are not. Correct? (Not accusingly, just wondering). Anyway, yes a pool running on a "major" coin should have somethings in place. I don't think that any other pool has a stop like that in it (at least none of the "big" pools I know of have a hard stop).

And agreed, a malicious attacker could get in to the system. But it can be gamed with much less power than 50% of the network. A malicious node only needs to find two blocks in a row for it to be possible to game the system. So any pool with a decent amount of hashing power could have that happen.  Anyway, I'm just playing devils advocate a bit here as I agree 100% with what you are saying now that I understand the POV you are coming from.

I guess the long short is that adding those types of systems in to place can cause issues. My pool had a filter on it for a long time that would block more than x% of the network, but sometimes on smaller alts you take what you can get.

As far as his profit is concerned, if his server bills are anything like mine are, he pays thousands a month of servers. If he takes 2% total fees from all blocks found, we are looking at a profit of approx $100-200 usd/day for running the pool. A bit of money, but maybe not as much as people think.

zccopwrx, it has been great being able to discuss this with you. If you'd like to continue, we should create a new thread

Anyway, to not derail this thread too much more: coinotron if you need help just let us know.

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May 21, 2014, 08:20:57 PM
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Most of the pools use MPOS, which thankfully has a very easy method to close registrations.  Thats the obvious method to deter new miners when approaching a critical percentage of the overall network hashpower.

Coinotron isnt alone, theres been, and are still many pool that ignore the importance of a distributed hashrate (for example, Maxcoin and 1GH pool). Then again, theres much speculation that Maxcoin was devalued by the fact that 1GH ran at a flat out dangerous hashrate (70-80%) for a LONG time. Their only real problem is they were infact anonymous, so understandably, they had very little action to take, other than possibly closing the pool.

The market cap of Litecoin obviously makes this irresponsibility further reaching, as theres much more at risk than your run of the mill "alt coin".

Being a pool operator is a very humbling thing sometimes, your goal is to provide a service to users, some choose to make it a business, but when and if greed sets in, you are indirectly harming users and your business.




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May 21, 2014, 08:58:42 PM
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You can simply make the system better (or hire a dev) so that your pool will refuse connections once it determines its hashrate is too high. Also, you can use p2pool.
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