Vitalik Buterin, the co-founder of Ethereum, has gone public in dismissing concerns regarding the potential fatality of a 51% attack within Ethereum 2.0
Fears Increasing Following yETH Dominance
This scenario’s possibility emerged thanks to the overwhelming popularity that is the yETH vault of Yearn.finance. The vault had already amassed over 137,000 ETH within just its first day. Eric Wall stands as the Chief Intelligence Officer at Arcane Assets and has suggested that this could mean that the admins of yETH vault could possibly end up with enough Ether to theoretically launch a 51% attack within ETH 2.0
However, Buterin was quick to downplay the potential risks that are associated with the theoretical 51% attack on ETH 2.0, which stands as a Proof of Stake (PoS) network. He asserted that these malicious actors would only be capable of acting once, before either being soft-forked or slashed, losing control of the coins they need to keep the attack going.
We need to get past the myth that it’s *fatal* if one entity gets enough to 51% attack PoS. The reality is they could attack *once*, and then they either get slashed or (if censorship attack) soft-forked away and inactivity-leaked, and they lose their coins so can’t attack again. https://t.co/utash1hUDU
— vitalik.eth (@VitalikButerin) September 2, 2020
Some Underrated Advantages To PoS
With the spotlight comparing PoS with Proof of Work (PoW), Buterin made it clear that PoW networks have a very larger risk of being fatally damaged by a 51% attack. This is due to the fact that there are no staked coins to take, nor is there any way to delete the hardware of the attacker without subsequently deleting the hardware of everyone else. He highlighted this as a key fundamental advantage that PoS has over PoW, one that is continuously underrated.
Ethereum Classic, which uses and plans on staying with PoW, has already been hit with three consecutive 51% attacks within the past month alone. As one would imagine, this had led to some significant concerns regarding the security of the network at large.
Defending And Contending Buterin’s Word
As one would imagine, however, many have shown skepticism to Buterin’s assurances, highlighting how it could be hard to identify the correct fork, as well as the fact that the attacker itself will still hold sway across the main chain.
However, Real Vision’s Sebastian Moonjava gave an explanation, as well. In his eyes, the likelihood of a 51% attack will decrease over time. This, he said, was due to how the DeFi space will see its competition grow. This, in turn, would see to it that yETH vault would find it more and more challenging to obtain that mythical 51% in order to actually attack.
Competition will be fierce. Free market will probably dampen the likelihood of this being existential.
More people building. More use cases = less risk of this. https://t.co/FT0ZDL9Cvs
— 🌊Sebastian Moonjava🌊 (@theDAOKING) September 2, 2020
What yETH vault allows users to do, is to lock Ethereum in, then automatically switching towards the highest interest rate or yield strategy, thanks to the protocol itself. The company behind yETH, Yearn Finance, stands as the sixth-most popular DeFi project, having $876 million in ETH locked, as DeFi Pulse stipulates.