Greg Maxwell, the developer of Bitcoin Core, made a post on Reddit where he talks about the attacks of 51%. In particular, it explains why take measures to avoid them may undermine the decentralization of cryptocurrencies. In the publication, Maxwell ensures that any mechanism prepared to mitigate these attacks, it would imply the centralization of the assets. Although in his text he referred specifically to Bitcoin, this can equally be applied to other active cryptographic. It is important to remember that an attack of 51% means that more than half of the energy mining is in the hands of the same person or group. The risk of this is that the actors with the control of the network could reverse the transactions in an attempt of double spending. This occurs when, after an exchange of cryptocurrencies by currency fiduciary, will override the scriptures on which it is made that operation with the digital currencies. Therefore, it is possible to recover the cryptocurrencies and, at the same time, preserve the fiat money that was exchanged.
The overwhelming response of Maxwell
Faced with the possibility that someone or a group could control the Blockchain of any criptomoneda, it has generated a certain level of concern within the community cryptography. That is why a user on Reddit asked how they could prevent or mitigate these attacks. The response provided it to Greg Maxwell, who is concerned for the simple fact that a question like that existed. “I think that questions like this are, in the last instance, the result of a fundamental lack of understanding about what is doing Bitcoin”. The developer continued sentencing that any attempt to mitigate this threat compromises the decentralization of Bitcoin. Maxwell also pointed out that Bitcoin is focused on solving the problem of achieving a consensus on a history of stable transactions. This can be solved in an intuitive way to set the “firstness” of a particular transaction, invalidating operations subsequent to duplicate. “In a system truly decentralized, ‘first’ does not make logical sense. As an inevitable result of relativity, the order in which the different parties will perceive events depends on their relative positions, no matter how good or fast is your system of communication”. The fundamentally decentralized Bitcoin, continues Greg Maxwell, is based on the “vote” of computing power through mining, without the involvement of any third party centralized. Any mechanism to “prevent” the manipulation of this “vote”, “surely you would replace mining entirely.” Maxwell concluded by assuring that the actual risk are not the attacks of 51%, but the people who use Bitcoin but don’t really know about it. “A much higher risk to Bitcoin is that the public that uses it will not understand, will not mind and will not protect the properties of decentralization that make it valuable over the alternative centralized in the first place.” The following two tabs change content below. I am a student of International Studies, interested in new technologies and their impact on the world. A true believer that tenacity is the foundation of success.