Single Entity Reportedly Controlling 51% of Dash Cryptocurrency's Hashrate

  • Dash (DASH), one of the largest cryptocurrency networks, appears to be a potential target of a 51% attack.
  • Relatively large digital currency platforms such as Ethereum Classic (ETC) are still vulnerable to 51% attacks.

Dash (DASH), an open-source digital currency platform and a form of decentralized autonomous organization (DAO), has recorded about 1,900 Terahashes per second (at the time of writing). Significantly, NiceHash (a Slovenia-based cryptocurrency cloud mining marketplace for hashing power) has been responsible for over 1,000 TH/s across more than 25,000 miners.

Single Wallet Controlling Most Of Network

Notably, three of the top four DASH addresses over the last couple thousand of blocks mined on the Dash blockchain are controlled by a single entity, according to an analysis conducted by a Reddit user. The redditor wrote:

This particular transaction has three of the four top addresses as inputs meaning one entity controls all three. These three alone gather 53% and more. You can also see this started 6 months ago/around September last year, and I think the fourth unknown pool also belongs to this entity yet it is separated on the blockchain. It started to gather a lot of hash at the same time.

According to the reddit user’s (/taipalag) research, the following addresses are being controlled by a single entity:

XbUutDsgJbf7Sjjq4omhusNtkT8ih1d7oQ

XkNPrBSJtrHZUvUqb3JF4g5rMB3uzaJfEL

XeMPcKeVDN9bkECGDC7ggtf9QsX5thgKAx

In total, these DASH addresses have mined over 26,665 Dash, an amount currently valued at $2.126 million according to CryptoCompare data.

Serious Threat To Blockchain Security

51% attacks pose a serious threat to the security of blockchain networks, especially for cryptocurrencies that have smaller networks.

Many analysts argue that digital asset platforms should be ASIC-resistant, meaning that miners must not be able to mine cryptocurrencies using specialized high-end hardware equipment. In addition to allowing all miners an equal opportunity to mine digital currencies, an ASIC-resistant network may be more secure.

Hashpower renting services such as Nicehash may also be a threat to a cryptocurrency platform’s security because someone could rent enough hashpower to launch 51% attacks on the Dash blockchain and other networks.

Protecting Dash Network Using "Chainlocks"

In order to protect the Dash platform from 51% attacks, the cryptocurrency’s developers are working on something referred to as “Chainlocks.” The Dash Improvement Proposal 8 explains:

When a node encounters multiple valid chains, it sets the local “active” chain by selecting the one that has the most accumulated work. This is generally known as the “longest-chain” rule as in most cases it is equivalent to choosing the chain with the most blocks. If both chains have the same amount of accumulated work (and in most cases the same block count), a decision can’t be made solely based on the longest-chain rule. If another block is then received which extends the non-active chain so that it has the most accumulated work, it becomes the active one. For example, even if a chain is currently 6 blocks longer than any other chain, it’s still possible that a shorter chain becomes longer and thus the active one. This is generally known as a chain reorganization.

Bypassing Dash's X11 Algorithm

The above proposal aims to address issues related to both block reorganization attempts from 51% attacks and offers suggestions on how to improve the “longest-chain” rules which Dash has borrowed from the Bitcoin (BTC) protocol.

Clearly, an unknown entity has invested a lot of  money into mining Dash with powerful ASICs. Dash’s X11 algorithm had been designed to block or prevent ASICs from being used to mine its native digital currency. 

However, ASIC developers have been able to add more memory to their miners, which allows them to bypass restrictions imposed on mining by the X11 algorithm. 

As CryptoGlobe reported recently, the Ethereum Classic (ETC) network has been exploited via a 51% attack, which allowed the hacker(s) to engage in double spending.

Komodo to Soon Release Atomic Swap-Enabled Trading App, CTO Reveals

Cryptocurrency exchanges have been under fire so far this year, as hackers have kept on targeting them and other events hurt the confidence users have in certain platforms. Atomic swap technology is set to revolutionize the way we trade cryptocurrencies and more.

As CryptoGlobe covered, a Chainalysis report has found that 60% of cryptocurrency exchange hacks were the work of two major players, dubbed “Alpha” and “Beta.” Alpha was described as a “giant, tightly controlled organization partly driven by non-monetary goals” that appeared eager to “create havoc as to maximize profits.”

Beta, on the other hand, was described as a “less organized” player that focused more on monetary gains from their endeavors, moving money less, and waiting longer before cashing out. Together, these have reportedly stolen over $1 billion from exchanges.

Moreover, cryptocurrency exchange Cryptopia was hacked earlier this year in an attack described as “unusual” by Elementus, as it lasted longer than regular attacks, and saw hackers cash out over $2 million from decentralized exchanges.

On top of all this, crypto exchange QuadrigaCX recently went down after its founder and CEO Gerald Cotten unexpectedly passed away. Cotten was reportedly the only person with access to $145 million worth of customer funds in cold storage. The complex situation cost one crypto trader his $420,000 life savings, and is still unfolding.

While decentralized exchanges exist, their liquidity problems have seen most users stay away from them. The solution, peer-to-peer exchange, has trust-based risks, which are hard to fix without the transaction being made in person. This, as seen, carries risks.

Enter atomic swaps. This type of technology, according to the CTO of privacy-centric cryptocurrency Komodo (KMD),Kadan Stadelmann, can potentially revolutionize P2P transactions, as it eliminates the need the need for any central party.

This, he said, won’t make centralized cryptocurrency exchanges useless, as there’s room for both. CryptoGlobe caught up with Stadelmann to learn more about atomic swaps and Komodo itself.

CryptoGlobe: Can you introduce our audience to Komodo?

Kadan Stadelmann: Komodo itself is a blockchain platform that was founded a couple of years ago. Our vision is blockchain interoperability, the interconnectivity between different blockchain systems, between different communities, between different blockchain protocols, and also different technologies.

We have a varied set of different technologies and tools that together do reflect this vision that we have. As you maybe know we have decentralized exchanges, applications using blockchain technology, and some sort of smart contract system. As you can see it’s a pretty complex framework, and that basically is Komodo.

CG: Can you help us better understand atomic swaps?

KS: Sure. So there are different forms of atomic swaps, I'll just make it as abstract and as simple as possible. What I'm talking about now is the so-called "cross-chain atomic swap," this is basically the atomic swap everyone is talking about right now.

In simple terms an atomic swap would mean an exchange of coins from one person to another, without any central party involved. This is a direct line between me and you, so we can use the atomic swap protocol to exchange our tokens without any central technology. This cross-chain atomic swap is basically the idea of trading, exchanging something in a trustless way, with the help of specific mathematics and cryptography.

A cross-chain atomic swap can involve different blockchain protocols, so we can trade for example Ethereum for Bitcoin, and this trade takes place on our central computers - there's no central server like a centralized exchange. The most important aspect of this technology is that we're able to trade without anyone else involved, just me and you.

CG: What do you see in the technology's future? What potential applications can you imagine?

KS: I think this technology can cover a lot of things. Not just exchanging coins and tokens, but also exchange technology, exchanging information, and other data forms and data in general. I think atomic swaps - this technology of exchanging something in decentralized and trustless ways - opens door to the whole industry.

We're potentially talking about doctors exchanging information, Universities exchanging knowledge, making it a medium of exchange. These universities could use atomic swaps to exchange knowledge in a trustless way. I think for the technology the use cases are endless, as it's very promising.

Where I see it going is of course the financial area: trading, exchanges, etc. Those will be utilizing atomic swaps first. I see atomic swaps on smartphones, apps, and even on a smartwatch app. It's a mighty technology.

CG: Specifying cryptocurrency exchanges, how will atomic swaps affect them? Will they be an asset to them?

KS: I think it's going to definitely be an asset, something that's positive for the industry. We even see centralized exchanges developing decentralized exchange technology, take Binance for example - it's a centralized exchange building a decentralized exchange.

The biggest benefit of a decentralized exchange is the security, as trades just happen between me and you. It's very very different from a centralized exchange. I personally believe there will always be users who're familiar with the centralized exchange and will always feel more comfortable just opening a browser and entering an exchange this way. I think centralized and decentralized exchanges will likely co-exist for a couple of years, before we see hybrid forms get created.

CG: How will atomic swaps work with layer-two scaling solutions like Bitcoin's Lightning Network?

KS: [Atomic swaps] will be possible on layer-two scaling solutions, definitely, but they'll be a little bit different. Basically you would need some sort of gateway. Even though the coins are "locked" on the scaling solution, I believe atomic swap implementations could wait until the tokens arrive at the endpoint, exit the LN, and get unlocked again.

So if we did a trade and the LN was involved, it wouldn't be confirmed until the last steps were done - coins unlocked and tokens out of the second layer. We've developed something we call a trust API - while we're always trying building the system trustless we know normal users don't like to wait for confirmations, so in this case the system will allow a trade without the wait for the confirmation, or without waiting for the bitcoins to exit the LN.

I see other systems doing the same, so we would have an additional validation and confirmation layer allowing us to use the LN for atomic swapping. But it'll be different.

CG: When will Komodo's BarterDEX be live?

KS: Our decentralized exchange is live, publicly accessible, and already online. However, BarterDEX just entered the alpha testing stage two to three weeks ago and we're preparing for beta testing. We will make a public pre-release soon, however this is still a backend software, there is no graphical UI available right now.

We are planning to release a mobile solution - a smartphone trading application utilizing atomic swaps - later this year. A third-generation decentralized exchange.

CG: What's the Komodo token's role in all of this?

KS: We haven't really created Komodo as some sort of gas or fueling token for a decentralized exchange or any other technology. Our tech is 100% open and Komodo is the flagship token of the platform itself. The coin utilizes all the technologies we've built, and Komodo is more or less a "mothership," in the sense that it's the big spaceship where everything else - the other small projects - are created.

Komodo is like this big base foundation that we've laid for all the new tokens we see. We have dozens of blockchains being created with Komodo, that's its role. It's the glue that sticks dozens of projects, developers, and communities together and connects them while providing them a compatibility layer.

CG: Komodo hit a near $12 all-time high during the crypto market's peak, and now it's under $1, are you worried about its price performance, or the impact this may have on people's perspective into the market?

KS: To be honest I have no issue with the current market condition. While people say this was a really bad bear market, I think its normal as all coins are kind of pegged to bitcoin and if bitcoin goes down they all do.

At the end of the day 2018, the year everyone calls the worst crypto year, was the best one for me and every developer I know. We never had so much technology get created, we never had so many contracts and deals be made in the blockchain space. Although prices are down and Komodo along with it, the price to me is completely irrelevant. For me personally, it's irrelevant and the market should never be linked to the technology layer, they're two different things.

CG: Is there anything else you'd like to share with our audience?

KS: Yes, take a look at Komodo. It is a very promising technology, a young platform, and we've never really looked at the rest of the ecosystem as competition. If someone's following the media, we have security collaborations and vulnerability disclosure agreements.

Our big, big vision was to connect blockchain and provide this compatibility layer - and we've done it. We're open for other blockchains, users and developers to join.