November 27th, 2018
A Bitcoin 51% attack would be futile for attackers as it would require “significant expenditure” and “little financial returns,” according to a new study, which concluded that Bitcoin is secure.
Bitcoin 51% Attack Requires ‘Significant Expenditure’
Professor Saravanan Vijayakumaran, an Associate Professor of the Department of Electrical Engineering at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Bombay has published a new research paper titled The Security of the Bitcoin Protocol.
The study, sponsored by Zebpay, examined the security framework of the Bitcoin network under three main points of inquiry:
- Stealing Bitcoin.
- Tampering with confirmed and unconfirmed transactions.
- The ease of disrupting the normal operations of the network protocol.
The main thrust of the study was to evaluate the vulnerability of the Bitcoin network to a 51 percent attack.
By definition, a 51 percent attack is:
The ability of someone controlling a majority of network hash rate to revise transaction history and prevent new transactions from confirming.
In 2018, some cryptocurrency blockchains fell victims to 51 percent and double-spend attacks.
Professor Vijayakumaran’s research concluded that such an intrusion would not only require a massive amount of computing potential but would also result in minimal financial gains. The study also stated that an attacker would only be able to insert or remove transactions but not alter transactions or steal Bitcoin.
Despite declaring the network virtually immune to such attacks, the study did mention that a hostile nation could, in theory, launch such an attack successfully. He explained:
While launching a 51% attack requires significant expenditure with little financial returns, it is not out of reach of a hostile nation-state. Until an adversary of that stature emerges, the Bitcoin protocol can be considered secure.
Bitcoin is Secure
In addition, the study also comes at a notable time for Bitcoin, which just turned 10 years old.
Commenting on the study, Khurana said:
This paper underlines the security of this revolutionary protocol at a time of wider cryptocurrency adoption. Zebpay is proud to have enabled this in-depth research that is a source of empowerment and education for the entire ecosystem including blockchain developers, governments, think tanks, academics, regulators, law enforcement, researchers, students and finance professionals.
Zebpay is one of the fastest growing cryptocurrency exchanges in the industry. Based out of Singapore, the platform recently established its presence in Malta, expanding the reach of its service delivery to 21 EU member nations.
Could nations launch a successful 51 percent attack on Bitcoin? Let us know your thoughts below!