Verge, a ”privacy coin” has fallen victim to a 51% attack. A malevolent cryptominer gained majority control of the network hashrate, a feat that makes it possible for the controlling entity to modify transactions, calling the integrity of the *entire blockchain* into question.
Around a quarter million verge (xvg) were stolen by the attacker, as per our sources, forcing the project team to prepare a hard fork.
On Wednesday April 4th, “ocminer”, a regular poster on the Bitcointalk forum, announced that Verge (XVG) was experiencing a 51% attack. A bug in the altcoin’s code enabled the attacker to spoof timestamps and then cause each new block to be produced using the same algorithm.
Usually, a different algorithm must be used for each block to prevent any single cryptominer or pool of miners from controlling the XVG hashrate.
Using a number of exploits in the XVG code, the attacker was able to mine multiple blocks 1second apart from each other, all performed using the scrypt algorithm, a feat which ought to have been impossible.
Nothing Is Impossible
The attack slowed after two hours, but by that time the attacker had confirmed hundreds of blocks, making a rollback of the blockchain necessary to undo the damage. . A hard fork will now be initiated to solve the matter once and for all.
Verge’s problems may only just be beginning though. The attacker taunted the team in a forum post, writing “Hey Verge Team, get some real developers and fix your code.
We have found another 2 exploits which can make quick hashes as well.”
51% Attacks Are Rare
While generally theorized, 51% attacks are very rare. To control the majority of bitcoin’s hashrate, for example, an attacker would require over 14 exahashes of power, which would be all but impossible.
Altcoins have a much lower hashrate, but even still, it is unusual to witness such an attack in the wild. Interestingly, another Proof of Work (PoW) coin, electroneum, is believed to have succumbed to a 51% attack only four days ago. Reports are surfacing that the electroneum 51% attack has since resumed, with the same entity behind the verge attack believed to be responsible.
In 2018 Verge has shrugged off privacy leaks, developer doxed, Twitter being hacked, the embarrassment of having to beg its communityfor $3 million, and now a 51% attack.
The rest of the cryptocurrency world may be laughing, but XVG’s believers remain faithful.
FUD or cult?