MIT Researchers Discover “Counterattacks” Prevented Bitcoin Gold Doublespend

Michael LaVere
  • Researchers at MIT's Digitial Currency Lab reviewed the series of 51 percent attacks on bitcoin gold's blockchain.
  • Miners were able to initiate counterattacks to override hacker doublespends. 

Researchers at the MIT Media Lab’s Digital Currency Initiative say that miners were able to resist the recent 51 percent attack on bitcoin gold by implementing counterattacks. 

James Lovejoy, a grad student at MIT, and MIT Digital Currency Lab researchers Dan Moroz and Neha Narula authored a Medium post outlining the attack. 

According to the post, hackers initiated a series of attacks on bitcoin gold’s blockchain in January and February, involving chain reorganizations, double spending, and 51 percent attacks. Upon review, the researchers discovered a series of “counterattacks” initiated by bitcoin gold miners in an effort to block the malicious actions of hackers. 

The post explains, 

It started as a typical attack, as a transaction was reversed in a double-spent, but then that double-spend was itself reversed, with the original transaction valid again. On February 8th the attacker and counterattacker went back and forth four times over the course of 2.5 hours.

The counterattack by the miners was able to overturn the doublespend and maintain the integrity of bitcoin gold’s blockchain. MIT’s team found two additional “one-shot” counterattacks which took place on Feb. 9 and 11 which were also successful.

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