The “privacy coin” Verge, has fallen victim to a 51% attack. The attack was caused by a malevolent miner who gained majority control of the network hashrate, making it possible for the controlling individual or group to modify transactions. The attacker also made out with “250,000” Verge as a result of the attack (some unconfirmed reports are saying up to 3.9 million XVG was actually stolen), causing the project team to prepare a hard fork.
It has been established that a bug in the altcoin’s code enabled the attacker to spoof timestamps causing each new block to be produced using the same algorithm. Traditionally, a different algorithm is used for each block in an effort to prevent miners from controlling the XVG hashrate.
Verge enthusiasts dismissed conversation of “fake news and FUD” as one individual commented;
The timing of this attack seems highly suspicious. Is it possible this was not an individual but an anti-crypto governmental organization that fears the huge deal that Verge is making? Way too much of a coincidence here. I’ve said for months that all it takes is one huge (legit) deal with an Amazon/Paypal class company and the market will quadruple overnight.
After exploiting weaknesses in the code, the attacker was able to mine multiple blocks one second apart. After three hours the attacker relented but not after confirming hundreds of blocks. Although theorized, 51% attacks are rare to occur. In order to control the majority of bitcoin hashrate, an attacker would be required to have over 14 exahashes of power which is simply impossible. Although The hashrate for altcoins is much lower, it is still unnerving to witness an attack.
In response to the attack the verge team downplayed the situation on Twitter:
The price of XVG is down 16% over the last 24 hours. 2018 has been a wild ride for verge as they have dealt with privacy leaks, Twitter being hacked, developer doxed, having to beg their community for $3 million, and now a 51% attack. Verge appears to be the laughing stock of the cryptocurrency community yet the project team appears to be remaining unphased.