Ethereum will hard fork to fend off ongoing denial of service attacks, and ViaBTC is moving to Bitcoin Unlimited. Here are the cryptocurrency highlights of week 41:
- Ethereum is about to hard fork twice due to recent distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks on the network. Lead developers believe low gas prices have given attackers the ability to threaten the network with these attacks. The first fork is therefore intended to raise gas prices to make it more difficult for the attacker to disrupt the Ethereum blockchain and clients. A second fork will then follow shortly after to revert “the current “state-bloat” introduced by the attacks. This second fork will serve to remove accounts which are empty; lacking code, balance, storage and nonce == 0.” The fork is set to happen at block height 2,463,000. Developer Martin Swende also adds that “as a temporary measure to minimize the effects of the most recent attack, we recommend all miners to lower the gaslimit to 500K gas.”
- The hard forks in Ethereum could have an unintended casualty in the form of Ethereum Classic. Although the forks aren’t causing much controversy within the Ethereum community, the same cannot be said for the Ethereum Classic community. The latter has the same vulnerabilities in its network, and would thus have to go through the same forks, but it is currently deeply divided over the matter with some even calling a hard fork a “violation of immutability”. They are also planning to continue running the current chain as Ethereum Classic Uncensored, which would split the already tiny community.
- ViaBTC, currently one of the largest pools in the Bitcoin network with around 10% of network hashrate, has decided move all of its mining operations to Bitcoin Unlimited. In a statement ViaBTC argues that the move is necessary to prevent “network suicide”, because “without growing capacity for on-chain transactions the business model of the miners who secure the bitcoin network against attacks will be destroyed. If mining ceases to be a profitable enterprise, and it will if we do not allow conditions which enable more on-chain transactions to occur, the network will lose the enormous amount of computing power that keeps it secure from attackers. This is guaranteed to bring about the failure of Bitcoin the protocol as well as bitcoin the currency.” The latest move comes as a shock to Core developers who are preparing to implement Segregated Witness. The latter would be implemented with a 95% activation threshold (although this can still be lowered), but ViaBTC won’t be supporting it without on-chain scaling.
- The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is once again delaying a decision on whether to approve a bid to launch a bitcoin exchange traded fund (ETF) by investors Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss. The SEC is now opening up to additional public feedback, as it is looking for feedback on the “stability of bitcoin, the manner in which the trust will value the holdings, and any potential conflicts of interest between the custodian and bitcoin exchange Gemini, which is owned by the Winklevoss brothers.” Commentators have 21 days from the publication of the SEC document in the Federal Register to formally enter their submissions. Rebuttals can be filed 35 days from that time.
- The price of Bitcoin increased by more than three percent this week to a current rate of about $640 per BTC. The price of Ethereum lost a similar percentage, causing the price of Ether to drop to a rate of $11.87 per ETH. Ethereum Classic crashed again on concerns the community could split, taking the price to $0.99 per ETC. Monero another three percent of its value as well. XMR is now trading at a rate of $6.60 per coin.