Ethereum Users Plot 51% Attack on ETC: Has it Gone too Far?

As tensions between the Ethereum Core and Classic communities heat up, some rogue ETH users see the opportunity to 51% attack their new competitor.

Also read: Ethereum Creator: Interest in ETC ‘Coming From the Bitcoin Side’

Going by the pseudonym of Seanz123, the pro-ETH Core user and alleged miner began promoting the idea of a 51% attack against ETC on the forums late on July 27.

ETC 51% Attack

His intention was made very clear with this statement:

ETC 51% Attack

This intent has only been expressed by a handful of apparent ETH supporters, and there is no evidence that it represents the majority of users, the Ethereum Foundation or any other parties, yet. However, it does highlight the state of the conflict and the weaponization of mining power.

After posting a poll that got almost no attention, Seanz123 made a second post, which turned into a deeper discussion of the attack and on the development of code to be used.

ETC 51% Attack

The 51% attack, as coded by the pseudonymous “blckeagls,” would block all ETC transactions once they could out-mine the rest of the honest miners.

An active user going by the name of “Work” suggested the creation of an ETH mining pool that, after gaining roughly 400 gigahashes, would be large enough to point its hashing power at ETC and execute the attack.

ETC 51% Attack

ETC runs at 437.6 GH/s, compared to ETH Core’s 4008.4 GH/s.

Seanz123 also isn’t the first miner to threaten a 51% attack against ETC.

Earlier this week, Chandler Guo, a renown Chinese miner and Bitcoin evangelist, threatened to point his 90 GH/s at ETC.

He retracted his stance days later, pointing out that it would hurt innocent ETC holders.

Is the Ethereum Community Going Too Far?

Using the conflict between the “Old Catholics” and their defectors as a metaphor, a 51% attack against ETC would be the equivalent of destroying churches and burning the property of the new congregation’s followers.

This kind of behavior is inherently anti-competitive and is an initiation of aggression. The nature of blockchain forks is that they are voluntary and those that disagree have the freedom to use their preferred versions of the code.

If you appreciate the expressed values of ETC and think it really does stand for long-term ‘Immutability’ and competition, and is not as detractors suggest “Bitcoin maximalist trolling,” then now is the time to make your voice heard in the ongoing immutability debate.

Would a planned 51% attack on Ethereum Classic be unethical? Let us know in the comments below!

Cover image courtesy of Karl.Tech.

Disclaimer: Juan S. Galt is a cryptocurrency investor and holds ETH, ETC, DASH, Bitcoin and many other cryptocurrencies.

  • Get Liquid!

    Just proves what a toxic community exists in ETH. Also the lack of intelligence, they won’t “earn more mining” by killing ETC it will be the exact opposite. All the hash on ETC will go back to ETH moron. Anyway they are obviously just children, with no concept of long term value and in it for short term fiat gain. What they do or say doesn’t matter, they aren’t capable of anything more than spreading the toxicity of the ETH community to the rest of the interwebs.
    They chose a contentious hardfork without consensus, this is the result of their decision. Grow up and accept responsibility, the DAO bailout destroyed ETH credibility.

    • Michael Newman

      You are a moron. Toxic communities exist in every facet of human social life, especially on the ‘net. I have found most of the Ethereum community to be civil, mature and intelligent people. Unlike some of the bitching and backbiting I’ve encountered amongst Bitcoin people.
      This whole article is based on the sensationalistic depiction of a discussion on a forum amongst some people discussing the possibilities of a 51% attack as a theoretical concept. It did get hijacked by youngsters who got excited but it was about ideas.

      • Get Liquid!

        You start your reply by calling me a moron, then go on to defend the Ethereum community as being civil, mature and intelligent. Oh the irony.

        • Michael Newman

          Yes I called you a moron in response to your characterization of an “ETH moron”. You obviously feel yourself and whatever “community” you think you are part of to be superior. You didn’t respond to any part of my post other that the first sentence. Do you have any opinion about what I said? I am honestly interested because you seem to have some impression of “the toxicity of the ETH community” but you are obviously not part of it, but someone from the outside – reading articles like the one above and forming opinions based on your prejudice or maybe fear of a new technology that is probably going to succeed where previous one have failed. I am part of this “toxic community”. I’m an Ethereum miner and I take part in forums related to that. I’m not a developer but I am proud that I saw a situation where the DAO was attacked and the Ethereum developers found a solution to thwart the attack. Not because The DAO was “too big to fail” and needed a bailout but because theft is wrong. Do you think a massive theft of BTC would be OK if it was made due to a vulnerability in Bitcoin Core?
          “They chose a contentious hardfork without consensus” : this is patently untrue. On what do you base this statement? There was a vote based on stake holdings. There was a vote on most of the major mining pools. The vote was majority yes to hard fork. Immutability is all fine when there are no real consequences but this was a massive theft and we reversed it. Ethereum Classic is a side show propped up by exchanges exploiting get-rich-quick traders. It isn’t a real alternative – it has nothing behind it. It’s a pump-and-dump shitcoin. The people discussing a 51% attack on it were really in on a joke that’s probably to subtle for you to understand…. attack the “immutability” fork with it’s own code. Get it?

          • Get Liquid!

            And I called the ETH community toxic, which you proved by going around and calling people who disagree with you a morn.

          • Michael Newman

            You started throwing the moron word around my friend, I was responding to you. “ETH moron” you said. You are ignoring the issues in this discussion and concentrating on something that doesn’t matter. I’m a moron for bothering to try to talk to you.

  • Greg

    An attack would be a prosecutable offense in many jurisdictions. It would be near impossible to anonymize.

    • work

      Forking the chain by building and later publishing a private chain with more then 51% of the network hashing power is a built-in “feature” of proof of work consensus algorithms and therefore Ethereum… It’s part of the code and protocol, and the entire premise of ETC is that “the code is law,” isn’t it?

      • Greg

        I suppose, but tell that to the judge.

      • Nah, that’s the ETCU people. I think ETC’s think is just, don’t reverse transactions on the blockchain. They probably are open to other changes and upgrades to the chain. So in that sense, the only thing that is law is transaction history and the dapps, but the structure around them can be upgrated.

  • Ilya Oleynick

    It is like cutting off the left ear, so that right ear will hear better! Buterin told us that the foundation will support all ethereum protocols!
    Besides.. from the miners perspective it is cool to have two chains ..since miners split their hashpower by 2.. so its like halving “inside-out” 🙂

  • Bitfreak

    Why would one attack another? Only out of fear and uncertainty of their own survival. So these guys think that whatever they do as part of Ethereum foundation from swindling other people’s money to creating attacks is all legitimate? How different are they from DAO attacker who only proved a point to expose a shortcoming in DAO and got his well deserved bounty. What business Ethereum foundation did even have to get involved so promiscuously with DAO? Now that they failed in attempts at soft fork and hard fork, they think a 51% attack is a way of asserting supremacy? I am sure they will get a majority consensus among them to do an attack – and they know this is a bad PR for them.

    • work

      Bad PR for Ethereum on… you can’t honestly be surprised by that, can you?

  • work

    51% attacks are part of the protocol and code. Isn’t the entire point of classic that, “the code is law?” Isn’t a 51% attack simply helping perpetuate that point and giving classic supporters exactly what they want? If you think TheDAO attack was fine (which you must if you support classic), then you should in principle think a 51% attack is fine too.

    • No no, I wouldnt argue that the dao hack was fine. Some of the ETC people probably would. I think their argument is that bad companies should fail. And not be ‘bailed out’.

      Specially at the cost of immutability.

      My take on it is and really still is that the best option was to freeze the funds. And let no one get them.

      That way everyone learns a valuable lesson.

  • Sean
  • Uwe Manasse

    Not the code is the law, but the community. The new fork after DAO Hack was the proof. “We just found our highest court – the community!” Said Christoph Jentzsch who was one of the developers of DAO.