Vertcoin Hit With 51% That Saw Hackers Lose up to $4,000

Vertcoin (VTC), a cryptocurrency created through a fork of the Bitcoin blockchain back in 2014, has been hit with a 51% that seems to have been successfully thwarted and saw hackers lose up to $4,000.

According to the cryptocurrency’s lead maintainer, James Lovejoy, an unknown entity seems to have rented as much hashpower as possible via the Nicehash marketplace to attack Vertcoin by controlling 51% of its hashrate.

Vertcoin is an ASIC-resistant cryptocurrency that changes its mining algorithm whenever new ASICs are deployed on its network, with its current proof-of-work algorithm being Lyra2REv3. Ahead of the attack hashrate rental prices for Lyra2REv3 on Nicehash reportedly surged, and started working on unknown blocks.

Lovejoy realized Vertcoin was under attack and quickly contacted crypto exchange Bittrex, where 92% of the VTC/BTC trading volume is, to inform the exchange and recommend it disabled its Vertcoin wallet for the time being.

The attacker(s) managed to control 51% of VTC’s hashrate and reorganize its blockchain to remove 603 blocks and add 553 of their own. Lovejoy estimated that based on the market prices at the time of the attack, the attacker(s) spent between 0.5 to 1 BTC to perform control 51% of Vertcoin’s hashrate.

Their net loss, as a result, is estimated to have been between 0.06 BTC and 0.56 BTC, which means they lost between $440 and $4,100. In a GitHub page Lovejoy wrote:

The total value of the block rewards the attack received is 13825 VTC (~0.44 BTC). Given the attack was likely not profitable to perform based solely on block rewards, the motivation for the attack is not certain.

It’s believed the attack could be targeting Bittrex specifically, as it reorganized the blockchain little over 600 blocks, the cryptocurrency exchange’s confirmation requirement for VTC. Vertcoin’s lead maintainer noted the attack’s double-spent attempt failed as thanks to “Bittrex disabling their wallet before the fork could be released.”

At press time, CryptoCompare data shows VTC’s price has dropped around 7.7% in the last 24-hour period, as it maintains a steady decline from around $0.6 earlier this year. It’s worth noting Vertcoin was hit with a 51% attack in December of last year, which saw hackers steal around $100,000 worth of VTC.

Featured image via Pixabay.