Following the recent 51% attack on Ethereum Classic, many projects that previously thought themselves impervious will now be looking over their shoulders with concern, fearing that they may be next. The hacking of such a well-known coin will have sent shivers down the spines of investors and project leaders alike, and it must be considered that almost any Proof-of-Work coin is vulnerable now for those who have the money.
The mining service NiceHash, which allows renting of crypto mining by the hour, is seen as the primary way in which hackers are targeting coins, given that all that is required is money rather than physical resources. Aided by websites such as Crypto51, which detail exactly how much it would cost per hour to run a 51% attack on almost any Proof-of-Work coin in the space, the fear of mass scale 51% attacks is now growing within the crypto sphere.
Unknown Dash Miner Has Majority of Hashing Power
One investor in privacy coin Dash, a Reddit user by the name of Flenst, decided to do some investigation on Dash after reading up on the Ethereum Classic attack, and concluded that Dash is perfectly placed to be the next 51% attack victim. This is because a series of three NiceCash mining pools, all of which are connected to each other, are in charge of some 53% of the entire Dash mining hashrate. This means that, should they wish, the entity running these three pools could implement a 51% attack on the coin at any time. According to Crypto51, 75% of the hashrate needed to launch a 51% attack on Dash is available from NiceHash, compared to 0% for Bitcoin and 5% for Ethereum. Flenst states that there may be a fourth pool connected to this individual or individuals. He offers the following warning and advice to those involved in Dash:
Anyone offering a service with DASH must keep an eye on the chain as long as this doesn’t change and be very careful.
No Protection in Sight
In theory, there is nothing to prevent this attack while the majority of the hashrate is operated by a potentially malicious actor. Many Proof-of-Work cryptocurrencies, even those in the top 10, are in many ways simply fish in a barrel hoping not to be the next ones to get shot. As far as Dash itself is concerned, there is a mechanism for preventing 51% attacks called ‘ChainLocks’. The ChainLocks protocol was announced in November 2018 but, crucially, has not yet made its way onto the chain, leaving the coin as vulnerable as any other. It seems only a matter of time before another Proof-of-Work coin is 51% attacked, and with the loss of the majority hashrate to an unknown user or users, Dash seems primed to be among the top candidates.