There have been numerous 51% attacks against smaller cryptocurrencies over the past few months. These problems have affected currencies such as Bitcoin Gold, Verge, Electroneum, and a fair few others. Protecting against such attacks is very difficult, although it seems delayed proof-of-work may help out a fair few currencies in this regard.
Delayed PoW vs 51% Attacks
Most cryptocurrency enthusiasts know how a 51% attack against any cryptocurrency can be performed. It requires malicious actors to control over half of a network’s mining capacity for an extended period of time. This can involve miners colluding, a mining pool acting up, or ASIC miners hitting the network in quick succession. Regardless of the exact scenario, a 51% attack puts a coin’s security at risk first and foremost.
Considering that a lot of the smaller-cap altcoins rely on proof-of-work mining to secure their networks, it is only natural that there will be attempts to attack individual networks. So far, there have been quite a few such incidents, although there will be a lot more unless something changes drastically. Fighting this attack vector is very difficult and will require a completely different approach.
It appears the Komodo team may have come up with a solution that will benefit a fair few altcoins moving forward. Its focus on dPoW, or Delayed Proof of Work, has been of great interest to a few small currencies already. While this concept is not new by any means, it seems there are very few projects which implement dPoW at this time.
Integrating this Komodo-oriented feature into existing altcoins can be done with relative ease. There is a fee to be paid for doing so, as it costs teams around 100 KMD to “purchase” this option. Protecting an altcoin from 51% attacks for under $250 is an option pretty much every self-respecting altcoin should consider. Even so, it remains to be seen if dPoW will be the solution that ends this attack vector once and for all.
There is another reason why Komodo may become of great importance. Given the project’s focus on atomic swaps, it is evident that altcoins can benefit from this additional liquidity rather than wait for centralized exchanges to integrate new markets. Considering that trading platforms commonly take weeks, if not months, to add new coins, having a decentralized solution in place may speed things up nicely.
Whether or not delayed proof-of-work can put an end to 51% attacks on altcoins remains to be determined. It is an interesting concept worth exploring, although there may be a need for other solutions as well. Any proof-of-work cryptocurrency with a low hashrate is still at risk of suffering a 51% attack these days, and it seems the frequency of such attacks will not decrease in the months to come.