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Author Topic: The problem of 51% attacking alt-chains  (Read 2328 times)
MoneyIsDebt
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July 26, 2012, 04:16:50 PM
 #21

Isn't it enough to just agree on one node to trust? If you then detect a fork, either stop processing and raise an alarm or go with the trusted node.

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the joint
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July 26, 2012, 06:37:32 PM
 #22

These things are called CRYPTOcurrencies for a reason. They are NOT based on trust and are SUPPOSED to be attacked.

Very good point.

I disagree with this.

1)  51% attack really doesn't have to do with the 'crypto' aspect of the currency.

2)  Supposed to be attacked when?  On day one?  On day 365?  On the currency's 10th year anniversary?  If people are "supposed to" be attacking it from day one, none of these currencies would have ever gotten off the ground.  Bitcoin would've been forked hundreds of times if it was "supposed to" be 51% attacked.

3)  Where do you get "supposed to" from anyway?  Is that what a person's duty is?  They are supposed to attack others' work?  There's quite a big difference between attacking to improve a currency and attacking to be a dick and destroy it.

4)  Not based on trust?  You don't trust the open-source nature of the code or the math behind it or what?  I'm not sure I understand this.  I'm also not sure how I follow the logic that "not based on trust" leads to "supposed to be attacked."   

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July 26, 2012, 06:44:19 PM
 #23

Not based on trust means not dependent on magic elements that support the whole system.
It means removing the middle man.

Trust inherent in a community keeps it together.
Trust inherent in a process is a vulnerability.

Try not to trip over these different meanings.

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July 26, 2012, 06:50:02 PM
 #24

Not based on trust means not dependent on magic elements that support the whole system.
It means removing the middle man.

Trust inherent in a community keeps it together.
Trust inherent in a process is a vulnerability.

Try not to trip over these different meanings.


I think you're the one tripping over these different meanings.

Obviously what we're seeing is that it IS based on trust, i.e. the trust inherent in the community.  In the early stages of a cryptocurrency, it's becoming quite obvious that trust in the community is essential to its success.  All it takes is one deviant community member with resources to mess the whole thing up.  Trust isn't a 'magic element,' but it does support the whole system.

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July 26, 2012, 07:22:06 PM
 #25

Trust has a specific meaning in cryptography: a point of weakness. The less you have to trust something you don't control, the safer you are.

It has a meaning you're not familiar with, evidenced by how you highlighted what you agreed with and ignored what you didn't agree with.

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the joint
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July 26, 2012, 07:40:19 PM
 #26

Trust has a specific meaning in cryptography: a point of weakness. The less you have to trust something you don't control, the safer you are.

It has a meaning you're not familiar with, evidenced by how you highlighted what you agreed with and ignored what you didn't agree with.

But that brings me back to one of my points in an earlier post -- the 51% attack has nothing to do with the 'crypto' aspect of things.  The algorithm isn't being attacked.  It's being utilized.  This attack isn't about trust in the currency, it's about trust in the community.

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July 26, 2012, 07:59:38 PM
 #27

If I recall, the 51% "attack" isn't really a vulnerability.  It's a feature.

If over 51% of the network decides that "this is how its going to be" then, the people have spoken, it is done.

Lets say the bitcoin developers decide to make some crazy update to the client that most people don't like.  Well, fork it, don't run the update, and majority wins.

If it only takes one person or even a small handful of people to 51% a *coin, then that coin obviously wasn't meant to survive in the first place.  My two cents.

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July 26, 2012, 08:18:53 PM
 #28

If I recall, the 51% "attack" isn't really a vulnerability.  It's a feature.

If over 51% of the network decides that "this is how its going to be" then, the people have spoken, it is done.

Lets say the bitcoin developers decide to make some crazy update to the client that most people don't like.  Well, fork it, don't run the update, and majority wins.

If it only takes one person or even a small handful of people to 51% a *coin, then that coin obviously wasn't meant to survive in the first place.  My two cents.

But this can be applied to any decentralized cryptocurrency in its infancy.  Bitcoin got lucky to this extent, probably because nobody thought it was worth 51% attacking to begin with.  Now that Bitcoin is seen as valuable by attackers, they are attempting the next best thing -- 51% attack coins similar to Bitcoin while they are still in their infancy.

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July 26, 2012, 11:01:48 PM
 #29

And the big problem is that leaves the network open to corporate takeover, if folks want to keep their cash they have play by the new powers rules and if a group/government/corporation etc. has that kind of crunching power a new network stands no chance of re-capturing the block chain without more power or of building up a new network without a means of blocking that kind of attack.


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September 30, 2012, 06:39:06 PM
 #30

In large part the attacks seem to be motivated by fear; the fear that somehow the existence of complementary currencies that can be used in conjunction with bitcoin to accomplish things that work better using more than one currency than they do using only one currency will undermine the value of the existing currency whose usefulness they are extending by creating new opportunities involving the existing one.

Nonetheless despite encountering such attitudes some people have gone ahead anyway, exploring and enjoying some of the advantages that not being stuck with only one currency can provide.

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