Vertcoin to Undergo Unsuccessful 51% Attack

On Sunday, December 1, the Vertcoin cryptocurrency was attacked by 51%, but it turned out to be not entirely successful for its organizers – the costs of its implementation were clearly not paid off.

The unsuccessful attempt to carry out an attack on the network was reported by Vertcoin lead developer James Lovejoy.

According to him, on November 30, on the Nicehash computing power marketplace, a significant increase in the cost of renting resources for the Vertcoin Lyra2REv3 algorithm used was noted. And on December 1, an unknown attacker removed 603 blocks from the main Vertcoin network, replacing them with their own 553 blocks.

However, not everything on the attack organizer went smoothly.

Based on the market prices during the attack’s preparation and the difficulty of the blocks the attacker produced, we estimate the attacker spent between 0.5-1 BTC to perform the attack. The total value of the block rewards the attack received is 13825 VTC (~0.44 BTC). 

James Lovejoy

Lead maintainer, Vertcoin

As the developer added, the motives for such an attack remain incomprehensible to him.

He also noted that after he contacted Bittrex, where the main trading of VTC coins is conducted, the exchange turned off its wallets.

Given the reorg was just deeper than 600 blocks (Bittrex’s confirmation requirement for VTC), it is possible that Bittrex was the original target, but the double-spend portion attack was aborted due to Bittrex disabling their wallet before the fork could be released. It is also possible that no double-spend was ever intended, and the attack was a proof of concept or sabotage attack.

James Lovejoy

Lead maintainer, Vertcoin

He also did not rule out that the attacker did not initially set the goal of double spending, carrying out an attack to check the stability of the network or sabotage.