In the past week, there have been rumors regarding Ethereum Classic addressing the wave of 51% attacks. Its solution, known as MESS, seems a viable concept. However, not everyone is convinced this is the only solution to be explored right now.
MESS may not be the Best Solution
It is evident that Ethereum Classic has become a prone target for criminals. The cryptocurrency has been subjected to multiple 51% attacks and blockchain reorganizations in the past year and a half. Coming up with a solution to problems like these is often very difficult. More importantly, the community needs to agree on solutions before they can be implemented as part of the network.
The current proposed solution, dubbed MESS, seems capable of addressing the concerns. In reality, however, it remains to be seen if that will be the case. There are concerns over this only working during an “active attack”, but would not provide any passive security whatsoever. Far from ideal, assuming that is indeed the case.
Currently, there are still a few major concerns regarding MESS. It is relatively cheap to perform a 51% attack against Ethereum Classic right now. At a cost of $16.000 an hour, it is a relatively “cheap” option. It only takes one hour to trigger a permanent network split, assuming the attack is pulled off correctly.
While it is unclear if anyone will keep paying that hourly fee to permanently break the network, the concept cannot be dismissed.
That being said, some people feel that MESS is an unnecessary implementation incapable of solving the real problems. It is mentioned in the same breath as archaic systems, unprofessional thinking, and so forth. Finding a better solution may prove necessary, albeit MESS can be implemented in quick succession.
No Solution to Mini-reorgs and Forks?
What makes MESS somewhat controversial is its “gravity” quantity added whenever a network reorganization is about to be triggered. The extra “work” required from the incoming chain – the split version – is negligible in the first few blocks, yet increases exponentially. Although this makes sense on paper, it will still allow for mini forks and mini reorganizations of the Ethereum Classic blockchain.
In fact, one could argue that, with the help of MESS, it can become cheaper to attempt and disrupt the ETC chain altogether. Additionally, odes reconnecting to the network following this event will have no real clue as to which chain is the correct one. It is possible they will follow the “heavier” chain – with its extra work requirement – and abandon the original one altogether.
All in all, it seems likely that MESS will create a somewhat divided ETC community. Far from a ideal situation, but concerns should be raised and addressed accordingly. While MESS is quick fix, the network clearly needs permanent solutions first and foremost. Whether this implementation will be the best option, remains subject to debate.
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