Hash War: Mystery Miner’s Empty Block Attack Makes ABC’s New Blockchain Almost Unusable
According to various reports, the Bitcoin ABC pro-IFP chain has been under ‘attack’ for a number of consecutive days now. The mystery miner has been mining a great number of sequential blocks, but almost all of them have been empty. The miner who calls himself ‘Voluntarism.dev’ says the mining operation is a group of “old-guard miners,” and claims they can mess with the minority ABC chain for years.
‘The Price of Freedom Is Steep’
The cryptocurrency community has been watching the aftermath of the recent blockchain bifurcation, which saw the Bitcoin ABC node fork into its own blockchain. The Bitcoin ABC network is still nameless and without branding, and the token is often referred to as either “ABC,” “BCHA,” or “BAB.”
Last week, news.Bitcoin.com reported on a stealth miner who has been mining a large number of consecutive empty blocks. Because blocks have been empty for so long, it’s been hard for anyone to send a transaction on the ABC chain and get the transaction confirmed in a timely manner.
Since our newsdesk’s report, the mystery miner has introduced the group on Twitter under the account name Voluntarism.dev, and through coinbase parameter messages every time the pool finds an ABC block reward. On November 24, 2020, the Voluntarism.dev Twitter account created a message with a blockchain signature in order to verify its legitimacy.
The same day the miner tweeted: “good ideas don’t require force” and the following day the group tweeted a message to other miners pointing hashrate at the ABC chain. Voluntarism.dev said:
I hope all miners agree: we would like 100% of the BCHA coinbase reward to go to pqnqv9lt7e5vjyp0w88zf2af0l92l8rxdgnlxww9j9.
Later on that day, the pool tweeted that “the price of freedom is steep” and also tweeted some screenshots of Bitcoin ABC’s lead developer Amaury Séchet discussing the infrastructure funding plan (IFP).
“ABC violated the (non-aggression principle) NAP with 9 months of civil war,” the Voluntarism.dev Twitter account stressed in another tweet. “Freeriders must pay 100% of the block reward to ABC. We will orphan all blocks that do not. We will pay 100% as well, once ABC merges this change,” the pool added.
In another statement Voluntarism.dev said:
The amount of value that ABC stole from [Bitcoin Cash] pales in comparison to our expenditures. We are a group of old-guard miners and whales. We can do this for years. Next time you fork: use your own genesis block, your own PoW [algorithm], and build your own community. [Bitcoin Cash] is protected.
Meanwhile, between Thursday and Saturday, it took more than 24 hours before any ABC pro-IFP transactions cleared, and the blockchain has suffered a total of two blockchain reorganizations (reorg) to-date. This means after a block has been mined by a miner other than Voluntarism.dev, it’s been reverted and the once confirmed blocks simply disappear. On Saturday morning, there was an attempt to reorg the ABC chain a third time, but it was reverted by the pool Mining Dutch. The mining pool Mining Dutch has managed to process thousands of transactions for senders on Saturday early afternoon (EST).
Spawn Camp Attack or Enforced Consensus Mechanism?
On November 28, 2020, the cofounder of Ethereum, Vitalik Buterin tweeted about the mystery mining pool that controls 90% of the ABC chain’s hashpower today. “ [A] mining pool 51% attacks BCHA seemingly with the explicit goal of destroying it. Will this be the first true spawn camp attack on a PoW chain?” Buterin asked his Twitter followers.
However, the recent empty block attacker is not the first true spawn camp attack on a PoW chain. A Bitcoin clone called Coiledcoin appeared in 2012 and it has been said that it was also attacked by hashrate. The BTC community accused the Core developer, Luke Dash Jr., of leveraging the mining pool Eligius in order to takedown the Coiledcoin project. Software developer Peter Todd spoke about the event on Twitter in 2016 when ethereum classic (ETC) was threatened by a 51% attack.
On Friday, in a reply to Buterin’s tweet about the mystery miner, BCH proponent, and researcher, Javier González explained that the mining pool’s technique was not an attack. “It is not an attack, it is defensive,” González said. “Bitcoin ABC has fractured the BCH project to capture 8% of the coinbase miners incentive. 90% of the BCH [hashpower] voted against it. And now they are defending their interests. Enforced consensus mechanism,” González insisted.
During the morning hours (EST), the mining pools Viabtc and Mining Dutch mined blocks 662396 and 662397. Both of these blocks confirmed thousands of transactions, but again, Voluntarism.dev reorganized the chain with its massive hashpower and the blocks disappeared. González sources data from the block explorer Blockchair and also runs his own ABC pro-IFP node. Although not too long after, confrontational hashpower was able to stop Voluntarism.dev’s third reorg attempt.
“The first empty block + reorg attack to destroy a minority split attempt (BAB/BCHA/ABC) is occurring,” González told news.Bitcoin.com on Saturday. “I think they are a group of miners and BCH whales that are acting in coordination to defend the [Bitcoin Cash] blockchain from the split caused by Bitcoin ABC (Amaury) to capture the 8% of the coinbase incentive that belongs to the miners. González further added:
Basically, Amaury believes it has the right to break up the project and take the 8% (who knows how much in the future). But that is being denied by hashwar.
Mystery Miner’s Third Attempt to Reorg ABC Met With Confrontational Hashpower
González also said that the ABC chain only has two mitigations; either selectively ignore hashpower (total centrality) or change the algorithm in emergency. The researcher further highlighted that the ABC chain has no use and that markets may have to delist the coin. While the mystery miner empties blocks it is also optimizing the assault by making it cheaper González detailed.
“What we are seeing is what I call ‘executive mining.’ That is, it is not ‘automatic mining’ following the market incentive, but the miners are following their own brains, spending money, thinking of a bigger future incentive (in this case, it seems to be the defense of BCH),” González emphasized.
While conversing with the researcher another two blocks were mined by the pool Mining Dutch. González said that the mystery miner Voluntarism.dev is now being confronted in the hash war. “A large amount of HP has reversed the reorg, protecting BAB,” González detailed. Currently, there have been two successful reorganizations and one failed attempt on Saturday morning.
After the two blocks were found by Mining Dutch, Voluntarism.dev mined four blocks after that, the pool said the confrontational hashpower was a “bully” in the following coinbase message. Following the four blocks mined by Voluntarism.dev (662412, 662413, 662414, 662415), Mining Dutch got another two blocks and managed to process transactions.
As of right now, BCH supporters and ABC proponents will be watching the chain with their eyes peeled. So far, it seems the chain is far from functional and the network’s existence going forward is uncertain.
What do you think about the hash war and the mystery miner? Let us know what you think about this subject in the comments section below.
Image Credits: Shutterstock, Pixabay, Wiki Commons, Charts by Javier González, Coin Dance Cash ABC hashrate distribution,
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Ethereum’s Technical Outlook Strengthens as Market-Wide Recovery Begins
Ethereum has been closely tracking Bitcoin’s price action throughout the past few days and weeks, which has led it to see some immense turbulence as of late
Just two days ago, the benchmark cryptocurrency faced a rejection at its all-time highs that resulted in it reeling from $19,500 to $16,400
This selloff was the most intense one seen since this uptrend first got started a handful of weeks ago
Where it trends next will depend almost entirely on whether or not bulls can extend the ongoing rebound
One analyst does believe that Ethereum is in a position to rally higher in the near-term, as it is now looking strong from a technical perspective
Ethereum and the entire crypto market have witnessed some of the most intense turbulence seen in weeks over the past couple of days.
Bitcoin’s rejection at its all-time highs, coupled with fear regarding a new wave of regulations, sent the entire market reeling lower, with ETH plunging from its recent $620 highs to lows of $490.
Where the market trends in the mid-term will depend largely on whether or not bulls can extend the ongoing rebound that is taking place at this moment.
One trader expects further upside, noting that the cryptocurrency is looking increasingly strong from a technical perspective.
Ethereum Rallies Higher Alongside Bitcoin
At the time of writing, Ethereum is trading up over 4% at its current price of $539, which marks a massive rebound from its multi-day lows of $490 set at the bottom of the recent selloff.
The strength seen in the time following the recent market-wide selloff is a positive sign, as it indicates that the major digital assets were all brought into oversold territory.
ETH may face some resistance around $540, but a firm break above this level could lead it to see some significant upside.
Analyst Claims ETH is Poised to See Further Upside
One trader explained that Ethereum is now looking technically strong and may be well-positioned to see further upside in the days and weeks ahead.
He does note that he’d like to see one more sweep of the range lows to make a sustained push higher in the days and weeks ahead.
“Back to blue. I bought spot ETH at $500 and I’m now long on lev. I’d still like to see another sweep of the lows, just hoping to not get chopped. Signals have been strong enough from this chart that it warrants me being long when we’re blue.”
Bitcoin has seen a strong move higher throughout the past day, with bulls aiming at reversing the recent market-wide selloff as the cryptocurrency begins pushing higher.
Where it trends next will likely depend largely on whether or not bulls can maintain the ongoing uptrend as the weekly candle close fast approaches. Where this candle closes will likely set the tone for the week ahead and offer insight into its macro-outlook.
There are still a few crucial levels that need to be surmounted before Bitcoin can see significantly further upside.
It is currently trading between a few key levels, and how it continues reacting to the selling pressure that exists here will provide insight into its mid-term outlook.
One trader is now noting that a break above the resistance that sits right above where it is currently trading at could lay the groundwork for the benchmark cryptocurrency to see an explosive move higher shortly.
A rejection here, however, could stunt its growth and cause it to resume the downtrend that came about after it faced a rejection around its all-time highs in the mid-$19,000 region.
Bitcoin Struggles to Gain Momentum as Selling Pressure Ramps Up
At the time of writing, Bitcoin is trading up just under 4% at its current price of $17,750. This marks a notable climb from its recent lows of $16,400 set at the bottom of the recent market-wide selloff.
It also marks a notable upswing from where it has been trading throughout the past day, with bulls previously struggling to break above $17,000.
If it can hold above this level and possibly navigate into the $18,000 region, it could be a sign that further upside is imminent for the entire market.
Analyst Claims Current Price Region is Critical for Future Outlook
One trader explained in a recent tweet that Bitcoin’s response to its current price region will offer important insights into its near-term trend.
He points to the price region between $17,650 and $17,800 – which is where it is currently trading – as a “sticky area” that may slow its ascent. So far this has proven to be accurate.
“BTC: Bitcoin retesting $17,160 here and I want to see this level flip the move up. Next sticky area is around $17,650 to $17,800 which was previous support prior to the breakdown. Reclaim there and I think that’s a nice start for the price as it should likely move to mid $18ks.”
This Pattern Suggests Bitcoin Could Plummet to $12,000 Before Uptrend Continues
Bitcoin and the entire crypto market are showing some signs of strength on this relatively quiet morning for the markets
Following a brief bout of trading below $17,000, the benchmark cryptocurrency has firmly reclaimed this price region
It is now attempting to push higher as bears lose steam, which could be a sign that its recent $16,400 lows are a long-term bottom
Where the market trends in the mid-term will depend entirely on Bitcoin and whether or not it can stabilize
One trader is now pointing to a pattern that indicates BTC could soon see a strong decline that sends it to $12,000 before it rebounds
Bitcoin and the rest of the crypto market are currently caught within a bout of consolidation following the recent market-wide decline.
This tempered trading favors bulls, as BTC and most altcoins have pushed higher over the past day.
Where the entire market trends next will depend on whether or not Bitcoin can confirm $17,000 as a long-term support level.
However, one trader is now musing a potential scenario in which BTC reels as low as $12,000 before finding enough support to begin journeying past the resistance that exists around its all-time highs.
Bitcoin Gains Momentum Following Recent Selloff
Bitcoin is now trading up nearly $1,000 from its multi-day lows, with the recent dip to $16,400 clearly marks a knee-jerk reaction to a culmination of a few factors seen as potentially bearish.
At the time of writing, BTC is trading up just under 2% at its current price of $17,420. This marks a notable decline from its recent highs of $19,500.
The rejection at these highs, coupled with fears of a new wave of regulations, sent the price tumbling lower, but this fear seems to be subsiding.
Trader Indicates Move to $12,000 Could Be Imminent
One trader explained in a recent tweet that Bitcoin could be on the cusp of reeling down towards $12,000 before it can fund enough support to climb back up towards its all-time highs in the upper-$19,000 region.
“Three notes: – this is just a scenario, one of many, describing the most savage correction I could envision – probabilities on this? no idea, lots of other scenarios to consider, too early to tell – don’t bet your bank to the downside on this, seems a lot of people want this,” he said while pointing to the below chart.
The coming few days should provide insight into where the entire market will trend next. A sustained bout of trading above $17,000 could result in Bitcoin navigating back up towards its all-time highs.