- In a new post, Dash developer Codablock discussed the new Dash Improvement Proposal (DIP) 8 known as ChainLocks.
- The introduction of Long Living Masternode Quorums (LLMQs) allowed them to implement ChainLocks, a protection mechanism against possible 51% mining attacks.
- ChainLocks will have a few, albeit pivotal effects on the whole network as well as its economics.
In a recent blog post on Medium, Dash developer Codablock talked about ChainLocks, their new protection mechanism against 51% mining attacks.
Dash, the fully-incentivised peer-to-peer network has seen massive growth since it first launched in 2014. Thanks to incentivisation, it is also considered one of the largest peer-to-peer networks in the world right now, boasting some 4,100 masternodes.
51% Attacks in a Nutshell
Litecoin cash, zencash, verge, monacoin, and bitcoin gold.
While it’s not common knowledge, the 5 abovementioned cryptocurrencies share something in common—they’ve all been hit by an attack that was once considered more theoretical than actual.
In each of the cases, attackers were able to amass sufficient computing power to compromise the smaller networks, rearrange the transactions, and get away with millions of dollars in an operation that can be likened to the crypto equivalent of a bank heist.
While once considered rare or too costly to pull off, recent controversies in some crypto projects leave little doubt the threats of 51% attacks are real.
In essence, a 51% mining attack is possible when a single miner or entity has more hash power than the overall combined hash power of all the other miners.
In a similar scenario, the miner has the option to overrule all the blocks of all the other miners. This can be done by simply ignoring the blocks found by the other miners and only mining new blocks on top of his own blocks.
Following said process can already enable the miner to attack the network in numerous ways. While there are numerous other examples of what a miner with a 51% hash power can do, one thing is certain—it can result to significant damage.
Addressing 51% Attacks
To date, Dash admits they are just as susceptible to attack as any other Proof of Work coin and many community members have been asking how they intend to address the 51% attack threats.
An older proposal known as “Collateralised Mining” was once believed to be the answer. However, at the most, it would only be able to solve the attacks to a certain degree. In addition, it would also require massive mining economics changes.
Fortunately, the introduction of the Long Living Masternode Quorums (LLMQs) has made it possible for them to implement a protection mechanism against the feared 51% mining attacks.
Dash has been working for several months on the new protection mechanism dubbed as ChainLocks. This recent development has also made “Collateralised Mining” a thing of the past.
Network Implications and Effects
Without doubt, ChainLocks will have a significant effect on the entire network as well as its economics.
In the blog post, one of ChainLock’s most fundamental effect was discussed:
“One of the most important effect for ordinary merchants and users is transactions can be considered fully confirmed after the first on-chain confirmation inside a block protected by ChainLocks.”
This means transactions will no longer vanish from the chain since reorganisation of locked or signed blocks is no longer feasible. Additionally, this would also mean waiting for 6 or more confirmations before considering the transaction secure is no longer warranted.
The post also touched on the effects of ChainLocks on the mining economics:
“With ChainLocks, miners are incentivised to publish every block immediately, even if they in theory have enough hash power to overrule every other miner. Failure to publish creates substantial risks for a malicious miner since any secret chain (even if thousands of blocks longer) would be immediately invalidated if another honest miner publishes a valid block that receives a CLSIG before the secret chain is revealed.”