Blockchain Cannot Be Modified? Let’s Talk About It…

Pete Linforth

At the dawn of the study and knowledge of new phenomena, social, scientific or technological, what is done is to probe their advantages, opportunities, and chances, but also critical issues and anomalies to improve their efficiency and their application.

One of the paradigms of the new technological system of the blockchain, is the non-attachability by hackers, but even here cybercriminals get smart, study, evaluate, investigate to find systems to tamper with smart contracts, which are still in the process of being perfected and serve to automate operations and transactions between the parties.

Earlier last month, Coinbase’s security team noticed something strange in Ethereum Classic, one of the cryptocurrencies that people can buy and sell using Coinbase’s popular exchange platform. Its blockchain, with a history of all its transactions, was under attack. A hacker had somehow gained control of more than half the computing power of the network and was using it to “modify” (but not “undo” because in a blockchain the unchangeability is unquestionable) the transaction history from that moment on. This allowed the same cryptocurrency to be spent more than once, a phenomenon known as “double spending”.

A blockchain protocol is a set of rules that establish how nodes must verify new transactions and add them to the database. More than half of the nodes must agree that a transaction is valid for validation. The protocol uses encryption, puzzles, and gains to create incentives for nodes to work to protect the network, instead of attacking it for personal gain. If set up correctly, this system can make it extremely difficult and expensive to add false transactions, and relatively easy to verify valid ones.

The 51% susceptibility to attacks is inherent in most cryptocurrencies. This is because most are based on blockchain that uses “proof of work” as the protocol for verifying transactions. In this process, also known as mining, nodes spend…

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