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51% attacks are morally justifiable
In this short post I want to set out my case for the moral justifiability of 51% attacks against proof of work cryptocurrencies. In the past, a 51% attack was a theoretical construct that most people didn´t seem to think would be practically achievable or lucrative. This has now changed, as hashpower can be rented on sites like Nicehash and Mining Rig Rentals for a few hours at a time. The attack delivers the attacker two prominent opportunities: -You can orphan blocks of ¨legitimate¨ miners. This essentially means that whatever work was produced by legitimate miners during your attack became worthless. Mine a secret chain of two hours worth of blocks, release it and you orphaned 2 hours worth of blocks by your competitors. By the time most of the miners have noticed their blocks were orphaned in an attack, their nodes will have been automatically mining on your own chain for a while and it will be too late for them to do anything about it. The amount of money they lost would be equivalent to the amount you had to spend to produce your chain. Because mining is an industry with tight margins, the economic impact on these miners can be very big. The cost may be sufficient in case of a very long attack, to persuade them to quit their endeavor and get a real job. -The more important opportunity is that you´re able to double spend your coins. This is potentially, incredibly lucrative. How lucrative it is tends to depend primarily on the inflation rate of a cryptocurrency. A low inflation rate means relatively little ¨work¨ is done to maintain the security of the system. A high inflation rate on the other hand, turns the cryptocurrency into a very poor long-term investment. As a consequence, most cryptocurrencies face declining inflation rates, that delay the problem of their ultimately unsustainability into the future. The bank of international settlements explains this issue here. When it comes to the moral justification of a 51% attack, we first have to ask ourselves why proof of work is morally unjustifiable. There are two main reasons for this: -Proof of work has an enormous environmental impact, that ensures future generations will have to deal with the dramatic consequences of climate change. There is no proper justification for this environmental impact, as it delivers no clear benefits over existing payment systems other than the ability to carry out morally unjustifiable actions like blackmail. -Proof of work is fundamentally unsustainable, because of the economic burden it places on participants in cryptocurrency schemes. Cryptocurrencies can´t produce wealth out of thin air. The people who get rich from a cryptocurrency becomes rich, due to the fact that other people step in later. In this sense we´re dealing with a pyramid scheme, but the difference from regular pyramid schemes lies in the fact that huge sums of wealth are not merely redistributed, but destroyed, to sustain the scheme. The cost of the work to sustain the scheme is bigger than you might expect, because the reality is that relatively little money has entered bitcoin. JP Morgan claims that for the crypto assets at large, a fiat amplifier of 117.5 is present, as a purported $2 billion in net inflow pushed Bitcoin’s market capitalization from $15 billion to $250 billion. You have to consider that the Digiconomist estimates that $2.6 billion dollar leaves the Bitcoin scheme on an annual basis, in the form of mining costs to sustain Bitcoin. The vast majority of retail customers who entered this scheme ended up losing money from it. In some cases this lead to suicides. The fact that proof of work is morally unjustifiable doesn´t directly lead to a moral justification for a 51% attack. After all a sane society would use government intervention to eliminate the decentralized ponzi schemes that are cryptocurrencies. There are a few things that need to be considered however: -Governments have so far failed in their responsibility to address the cryptocurrency schemes. Instead you tend to see officials insist that proof of work might suck and most cryptocurrency is a scam, but ¨blockchain technology¨ will somehow change the world for the better. Most libertarians who saw these schemes emerge insisted that it´s stupid to participate in them because the government would eventually ban them and round up the people who participated in them. This didn´t happen because of the logistical difficulty of suppressing these schemes (anyone with an internet connection can set one up) as well as the fact that suppressing them would lend credence to the anti-government anarcho-capitalist ideology on which these schemes are based. Goverments might say ¨these schemes facilitate crime, ruin the environment and redistribute wealth from naive individuals to scammers¨, but anarcho-capitalists would insist that governments have grown so tyrannical that they want to ban you from exchanging numbers on computers. -Because cryptocurrency is fundamentally an online social arrangement, governments have very limited influence over the phenomenon. Binance seeks to become a stateless organization, not subject to the jurisdiction of any particular government. Just as with regular money laundering and tax evasion that hides in small nations that can earn huge sums of money by facilitating these practises, governments are dependent on the actions of individuals to address these practices. Whistleblowers released the panama papers and the tax evasion by German individuals through Swiss bank accounts. Through such individuals, the phenomenon could be properly addressed. In a similar manner, cryptocurrency schemes will need to be addressed through the actions of individuals who recognize the damage these schemes cause to the fabric of society. -The very nature of a 51% attack means that it primarily punishes those who set up and facilitate the cryptocurrency scheme in the first place. The miners who pollute our environment to satiate their own greed are bankrupted by the fact that their blocks are orphaned. The exchange operators are bankrupted due to double-spend attacks against the scams that they facilitate. When this happens, the cryptocurrency in question should lose value, which then destroys the incentive to devote huge sums of electricity to it. Finally, there´s the question of whether 51% attacks are viable as a response to cryptocurrency. There´s the obvious problem you run into, that the biggest and oldest scams are the most difficult to shut down. In addition, cryptocurrencies that fell victim to an attack tend to move towards a checkpoint system. However, there are a few things that need to be considered here: -51% attacks against small cryptocurrencies might not have a huge impact, but their benefit is nonetheless apparent. Most of the new scams don´t require participants to mine, instead the new schemes generally depend on ¨staking¨. If people had not engage in 51% attacks, the environmental impact would have been even bigger now. -51% attacks against currencies that implement checkpointing are not impossible, if the checkpoints are decentrally produced. What happens in that case is a chain split, as long as the hostile chain is released at the right time. This would mean that different exchanges may get stuck on different forks, which would still allow people to double spend their cryptocurrency. -There are other attacks that can be used against proof of work cryptocurrencies. The most important one is the block withholding attack. It´s possible for people who dislike a cryptocurrency to join a pool and to start mining. However, whenever the miner finds a valid solution that would produce a block, he fails to share the solution with the pool. This costs money for the pool operator, but it can be lucrative for the actor if he also operates a competing pool himself. In the best case it leads to miners moving to his pool, which then potentially allows him to execute a 51% attack against the cryptocurrency. -It´s possible to put up a 51% attack bounty, allowing others to do the work for you. This works as following. You make transaction A : 100 bitcoin to exchange X, for a fee of 0.001 BTC. Once this transaction has been included in a block, you immediately broadcast a conflicting transaction with another node: You´ŕe sending those 100 bitcoin to your own wallet, but you´re also including a 50 bitcoin fee for the miners. The miners now have a strong incentive to disregard the valid chain and to start mining a new chain on an older block that can still include your conflicting transaction. Provided that pool operators are rational economic agents, they should grab the opportunity. -Selfish mining in combination with a Sybil attack allows someone to eclipse the rest of the network, while controlling less than 51% of the hashrate. Your malicious nodes will simply refuse to propagante blocks of your competitors, thereby giving you more time to release your own block. Selfish mining will always be possible with 33% of the hashrate and as far as I can tell there are no pathways known currently to make the scheme impossible for people with 25% of the hashrate. This potentially makes a 51% attacks lucrative without having to carry out double-spend attacks against exchanges. Although double spending is a form of theft, it´s not clear to me whether a selfish mining attack would get you into legal trouble or not.
The dreaded 51% attack is a morally justifiable and potentially lucrative solution to the Nakamoto scheme.
Soon: First of all, I'd like to congratulate everyone here for a successful binance and kucoin listing. It is really you guys who made this happen, and not us. We supported your vision, and without your vision none of this would have been possible. This isn't our first rodeo show, but we realized early on that in the crypto space the community is everything. All of you have proven to the world just how important it is to be transparent, loyal, and what can be done when a community comes together for one common goal. Other than being the first gaming project to IEO, I believe this is the first project in the crypto space to build a product before listing on any exchange. This project was built by the team, but only made successful because you guys stuck to it. Therefore, the teams wants to thank all of you for the support for the past 9 months. The road will only get bumpier, but the potential is now endless. Ivan: When is the 3rd announcement coming? and any clues on what it is? Soon: The third announcement will be coming SOON. I don't have an exact time for it - but we are working on it as we speak. For sure you'll know its the third announcement once its released but let's enjoy the first and second announcement while we can : ) Ivan: when is the sportsbook coming online? Soon: Its more or less complete. Just a few more kinks we are working out. The goal is to have out before the NFL season and the Soccer (yes yes... football) season. So we are hoping to have out in the next couple weeks. We also have events planned : ) Ivan: has anything being done for the abuse of jackpots to stop on 1 v 1 poker tables? Soon: As I mentioned before, we are taking this week to gather feedback for the Poker platform. I know a lot of you compare it to traditional platforms like pokerstars, but we must look at the whole picture. It is nothing like pokerstars to begin with because there is mining a token which has value, there is rakedrops etc. So this is also new to us. For the jackpot we do see a lot of people 1v1 just to try to hit the jackpot - kind of like video poker. But we must also understand that they are also feeding rakedrops pool. One change that we will implement very soon is to have the amount you can win from the jackpot tiered. The cap for the rake, VIP, rakeback, tournaments, Spin and go etc. all of this will be changed and/or added. For more information on the roadmap for poker - Ivan : Next question, and I guess I can ask 2 in 1 for this one, sportsbook will it go 100% to Win, also advertising revenue will that go 100 % into WIN ? Soon: So we actually spent a lot of time thinking about how we should organize the sportsbook. I feel that sportsbook doesn't give users the mining rush, and similar to 1v1 poker right now, some people will be able to mine at no costs. Therefore, right now we have decided to have it go into WINdrops 100%. On average the house edge for Sportsbook is roughly 10% - so this will definitely help the price of WIN + Windrops Advertising will also all fill into WIN - but atm we have not started this. We need to build more content, integrate more partners, increase our viewership - then advertising revenue will be added Binance listing already put the platform in front of millions of viewers - so i hope as a community we can welcome all the new users who know nothing about WINk or TRONbet : ) Ivan: You have listed a lot of the new games like Hypersnakes, when will that launch? also will that feed into another token or into one of the current 3 ? Soon: The team is working on integrating the games as we speak. As you can see there is a lot on our plate right now including sports, updating poker, finding new partners, more e-gaming content, and other more traditional games. We also have to work with these developers to change some of the systems and mechanisms in the games to make it more compatible with drops etc. I think this is where our expertise comes into play, as we have created a whole new business model where wealth is redistributed to those who support it. Given this, some games will feed directly to WIN, some will have its own token and its own pool. It really depends on the product and there is no set rule as to how it works because each game or dapp is different in its underlying mechanics. One thing for sure is that no matter what, a portion of it or all of it will feed to WIN. Therefore, hodling WIN, keeping it frozen for drops over the long-term will give users a decent passive income that they can enjoy for as long as they want. Ivan: Will the new partnerships allow seamless payments from fiat to crypto? and making it easier for the average person to play on WINk? Soon: Yup this is also something we are working on. Fiat to crypto will definitely bring a whole new user base to the platform. But once you deal with fiat there are new regulations that we have to adhere too. We are working on getting through all of these regulations as we speak. Other than fiat, we will be integrating bitcoin, litecoin and other mainstream tokens to bring in new users as well. Ivan: while we are talking about the integration of btc, ltc etc. lots of questions coming in... when are you looking to integrate those into the platform? and how do we as users claims lets say LTC divs ? Soon: We are working on it - but it will take some time. I will update everyone as the time comes closer. but I'm sure all of you will enjoy it when it does happen Ivan: when can we see WIN come on trontrade, so we can directly buy into it, rather then sending trx to binance converting into btc/usdt and then buying win Soon: YUP! We just had a meeting this morning about it. It will be available on both trx.market and trontrade - Most likely will be up and running ready to trade in the next week Ivan: What are your plans for longterm growth (marketing, user grown, etc etc) Soon: I think the whitepaper sums up our plans the best. 2 things that we are working on 1. Lowering the barrier for non-crypto users - such as the fiat integration etc. Currently, the barrier is too high for the average user, and we've been working on a solution. But we also must understand that this requires the whole blockchain industry to grow, and this is also why i despise all these scam projects. Trust in a new technology is very important for adoption, and the more scams the less trust. 2. Partnerships with industry leaders - The binance listing that the community just had, has given gaming and WINk legitimacy, and this legitimacy will allow us to build new partnerships that will also bring in a lot more users. I can't expand too much on these partnerships atm... but let's just say.... when announcement 3 happens... it'll be good Ivan: while we are on that last question, also what is your projected users by End of year? Soon: for most of you who have been here for a while, you know that I hate speculation. and this is also why WIN is soo great, because its not a token for people to speculate on. Yes, there will be those who speculate on it, but it is also the only token that I know of on binance, that brings true measurable value. Given this, I don't want to speculate on users right now, but I think as long as we keep creating these new partnerships, keep building fun products, and keep listening to the community, user growth will come naturally. User growth also depends on each one of you, as word of mouth is the best marketing tool available. Just to name a few... Tommy, Scott, Alexey, and many others have done great to help the platform grow. So I'd like to thank all of you for that. Ivan: Will we be doing a full UI overhaul of the wink site? Soon: Yes we will! We are trying to build more social systems into the platform which will hopefully increase platform retention. Also, the current color scheme and design is still TRONbet, so we will be doing an overhaul to make sure these systems are organized and user-friendly, while rebranding as WINk Ivan: I think we will do one more question, are you planning on having a get together with the team and community members in a central location? Soon: I'd love too... isn't that what ANTE/WINk island is for? I actually had some time last week and was googling how much it'd cost to rent out an island for a night. Depending on the size we are looking at anywhere from 30k - 80k USD. If all of you are interested in getting together and maybe meeting the team someday - we can definitely set it up. No beer though... I can't drink beer.... Ivan: hehehe no beer, but I am sure we can get you on some whiskey lol Thank you SOON for answering a lot of these questions and in great depth too. We Will close the AMA now and open up the chat for discussion again. Soon: sounds good! thank you all again! Time to get back to work! again, congrats on a successful listing, Remember! its only going to get bumpier from here on out! No smooth sailing : ) Endless potential Thank you all, SOON out~!
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