Ethereum Classic makes a MESS of future 51% attacks

ETH Labs' Ethereum Classic Blockchain network develops MESS, a network security solution in order to avoid future 51% attacks.

By · Oct 13, 2020 . 5min read

Ethereum Classic MESS latest news

It is not all over for Ethereum Classic blockchain which suffered three 51% attacks within two months. While those attacks made it the third time the network has gone through this ugly ordeal, the CEO of ETC Labs has good news to share. Together with ETC Core Development Team, ETC Labs has developed MESS to make it prohibitively expensive for any other Ethereum Classic attack to happen on the blockchain network again.

MESS stands for Modified Exponential Subjective Scoring. As this is the case with most blockchains that operate on a Proof-of-Work, they can’t differentiate between a malicious chain and an honest mining chain. Speaking in one of Decrypt’s podcast sessions, Ethereum Classic Labs CEO Terry Culver explains how MESS solves this.

“What we’ve done is we’ve created a system by which large reorgs need to have greater difficulty.”

Legitimate miners do not have to be concerned. Simply because they do not have any intention to carry out a malicious chain reorg. However, for malicious miners then, they need “hash rates sustained over a longer period of time”. This would mean that if MESS had been activated prior to the last three 51% attacks on Ethereum Classic earlier, then it would have cost the hacker(s) at least $20 million instead of the just $3,800 rented hash power used.

After MESS what next for Ethereum Classic network?

As with every 51% attack, the malicious miner can do a lot of things like chain reorg and double-spending. Therefore, a huge problem for any network. This is exactly what the attacker node did in the ETC 51% attack causing a lot of emergency actions. For instance, Coinbase implemented longer withdrawal confirmation times up to two weeks for ETC. OKEx exchange where the malicious miner deposited a large stash of ETC considered an outright delisting of the coin.

To bring back trust to the network, ETC Labs has engaged the services of lawyers to help prosecute the hackers.

“We’re pursuing criminal charges to deal with people who’ve done something quite simple and that’s been around since as long as civilization has been around, which is steal.”

Culver stated their position so for anyone not to conflate their decision as a way of changing how blockchains work.

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