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Vertcoin Network Sabotaged by Another 51% Attack

The Vertcoin (VTC) blockchain was 51% attacked on Sunday, December 1, which saw 603 VTC blocks replaced by 553 blocks from the attacker. This is the second time the ASIC resistant Vertcoin chain was ambushed, as the network suffered a 300-block reorg a year ago.

Also read: Cryptocurrency Projects Aiming to be ‘ASIC Resistant’ Have Little Success

Vertcoin 51% Attacked Again

Vertcoin, a fork of the Bitcoin protocol, is an alternative cryptocurrency that’s been around since January 2014. The community and developers behind the project believe VTC is different because it claims to be ASIC resistant. However, throughout October and December 2018, the Vertcoin network dealt with a series of 51% attacks and a number of blockchain reorganizations (reorg).

Vertcoin Network Sabotaged by Another 51% Attack
Vertcoin dealt with 51% attacks and reorgs in October and December.

A 51% attack is when a single entity (miner) takes more than 50% of the network’s hashpower, allowing them to reorg blocks and double spend coins. The 300-block reorg on Vertcoin last year cost more than $100,000 from double spends. The situation invoked VTC developers to change its proof-of-work algorithm to another algorithm called Lyra2rev3. Less than a year later on December 1, 2019, the Vertcoin chain suffered another 51% attack. James Lovejoy, Vertcoin’s lead developer, explained the situation:

On Sunday, 1 December 2019 15:19:47 GMT 603 blocks were removed from the VTC main chain and replaced by 553 attacker blocks. We note that 600 blocks is the current confirmation requirement for VTC on Bittrex. There were 5 double-spent outputs in which ~ 125 VTC (~$29) was redirected. Each of the double-spent outputs are coinbase outputs owned by the attacker and it is unknown to whom the coins were originally sent before being swept to an attacker address after the reorg.

Vertcoin Network Sabotaged by Another 51% Attack

Cloud-Mining Service Nicehash Blamed Again

Similarly to last year’s attack, the captured hashrate was blamed on Nicehash. The company sells hashpower to individuals and acts as a hashpower broker marketplace that connects sellers and miners. Lovejoy remarked that he noticed on November 30 “a large upswing in hashrate rental prices for Lyra2rev3 on Nicehash.” “This was combined with workers connected to Nicehash’s stratum server being sent work for unknown (non-public) Vertcoin blocks,” Lovejoy added. Last year’s attack was blamed on Nicehash too when observers said “there’s too much hashrate for rent at too low a price, resulting in zero capex and low opex to do attacks.” Despite being ASIC resistant, cloud-mining services are now able to offer customers significant portions of CPU and GPU-based hashrates.

Vertcoin Network Sabotaged by Another 51% Attack

Resisting mining centralization has been a huge concern for a variety of blockchains and the Monero (XMR) network has had its share of grievances as well. Last year XMR saw multiple forks as developers tried to bolster ASIC resistance. In May 2018, the Bitcoin Gold (BTG) project suffered a 51% attack and lost $18 million in one fell swoop. A large portion of the BTG double spends from the attack was stolen from Bittrex, eventually causing the U.S. exchange to delist BTG.

Vertcoin Network Sabotaged by Another 51% Attack

With Sunday’s Vertcoin attack, Lovejoy emphasized that “it is possible that Bittrex was the original target.” However, the double spends were aborted because Bittrex had their wallet disabled. “It is also possible that no double spend was ever intended, and the attack was a proof of concept or sabotage attack,” Lovejoy added. Lovejoy said the post-attack analysis of the Nicehash order book at the time of the attack had shown “a large upswing in hashrate rental price” from both U.S. and EU markets. But after the attack, the rental price subsided, Lovejoy stressed, returning to the baseline market equilibrium.

What do you think about Vertcoin getting attacked again? Why do you think attacks like these happen? Let us know what you think about this subject in the comments section below.


Image credits: Shutterstock, Vertcoin logo, and Lovejoy’s Github gist.


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Jamie Redman

Jamie Redman is a financial tech journalist living in Florida. Redman has been an active member of the cryptocurrency community since 2011. He has a passion for Bitcoin, open source code, and decentralized applications. Redman has written thousands of articles for news.Bitcoin.com about the disruptive protocols emerging today.

Jamie Redman , 2019-12-02 18:40:07 ,

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NewsBlock © 2019 - 2020. All rights reserved.


While Bitcoin’s price seemingly moves without rhyme or reason — collapsing by dozens of percent and embarking on face-melting rallies on a whim — the cryptocurrency market is filled to the brim with fractals.

Related Reading: Analyst: Bitcoin Price Likely to Fall to Low-$8,000s as Chart Remains Weak

A brief aside: A fractal, in the context of technical analysis and financial markets anyway, is when an asset’s price action is seen during a different time. This form of analysis isn’t that popular, but it has proven to be somewhat valuable in analyzing Bitcoin.

One recent fractal popularized by a well-known cryptocurrency trader is implying that BTC is going to return to the low-$7,000s in the coming days.

Bitcoin Fractal Implies Retracement to Low-$7,000s

A well-known crypto trader going by “Tyler Durden” on Twitter recently posted the chart below, which shows that a Bitcoin price fractal may be playing out. The fractal has four phases: horizontal consolidation marked by one fakeout, a surge above the consolidation phase, a distribution, then a strong drop to fresh lows.

If the fractal plays out in full, BTC could reach the low-$7,000s again, potentially as low as $7,100. This would represent a 20-odd percent collapse from the current price point of $8,800.

It isn’t only a fractal that is hinting Bitcoin has the potential to visit its lows. As we reported on Saturday, Bloomberg believes that if the GTI Vera Convergence Divergence Indicator flips red, a downtrend could push the cryptocurrency back to $7,300.

Related Reading: Stephen Colbert Pokes Fun at Bitcoin in Monologue: Mainstream Gone Wrong?

Can Bulls Step In?

But again, many believe it is irrational to have such bearish interpretations of the cryptocurrency’s chart at the moment. As reported by NewsBTC earlier, Popular crypto trader Mayne recently noted that the “people waiting for $6,000” are irrational. He quipped that Bitcoin retracing and consolidating after its fourth-biggest bull move in history ($7,300 to $10,500, a 42% gain) is perfectly par for the course, but noted that it’s totally possible we can go lower from $8,800.

The medium-term technicals support this.

Trader and CoinTelegraph contributor FilbFilb found that by the end of November or start of December, the 50-week and 100-week moving averages will see a “golden cross,” which he claims is far more significant” for the Bitcoin market that other technical crosses.

Also, a Bitcoin price model created using Facebook Prophet machine learning found that the leading cryptocurrency is likely to end the year at just over $12,000. What’s notable about this model is that it called the price drop to $8,000 months in advance, and forecasted a ~$7,500 price bottom for BTC.

To put a cherry on the cryptocurrency cake, Crypto Thies observed that when Bitcoin bottomed at $7,300, it bounced decisively off the 0.618 Fibonacci Retracement of the move from $3,000 to $14,000, which correlates with the two-week volume-weighted moving average. He added that summer 2019’s consolidation was marked by Bitcoin flipping major resistances into support levels, implying that a bullish reversal and subsequent continuation is likely possible in the coming weeks.

Featured Image from Shutterstock


Nick Chong , 2019-11-10 12:00:38

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