A college freshman is coming after your cryptocurrency – but not to steal your coins, just to prove that someone could do so pretty easily.
According to a crypto enthusiast and security researcher going by the handle “geocold51,” most small-scale cryptocurrencies are at risk from the industry’s most feared vulnerability – the 51% attack. During this attack, a miner takes over more than half of a cryptocurrency’s mining power, which then allows them to erase a past transaction and replace it with another transaction – called a double spend.
While the ecosystem that’s been built up around bitcoin and other top-tier cryptos make them resistant to these kinds of attacks, other cryptocurrencies with less of a community of miners aren’t as secure.
Sure enough, on smaller coins, these kinds of attacks are getting more common. In a new report, Group-1B found $20 million worth of crypto theft accomplished with such attacks in 2018, as TNW reported.
On Saturday, October 13, geocold51 decided to display just how easy it was – livestreaming his attempt to 51% attack Bitcoin Private, a crypto with close to a $47 million market cap (at the time of writing).
Speaking to CoinDesk, geocold51 said, if a cryptocurrency can be so easily attacked, “it’s sort of a misvalue of a given currency by different investors.”
Geocold51 estimates he spent $100 to get to the point where he could have done a demonstration double spend on bitcoin private, but he stopped because his livestream got pulled.
Just to be clear, geocold51 wasn’t interested in stealing, and so he set up the demonstration where he’d send the bitcoin private he owned to two different wallets he owned.