51% attack – What is it, definition and concept | 2022

A 51% attack is a type of cyber attack made by a person or organization and that it is aimed at a blockchain with the aim of obtaining more than 51% of its computational power.

Therefore, we are facing a situation similar to that carried out by a company that buys more than half of the shares of others with the aim of control. However, in this case it focuses on virtual currencies.

The main problem of having 51% of a digital currency platform is more than relevant. That organization or person could create false information that would cause investors to move in the wrong direction and thus obtain illicit profits.

51% attack and cryptocurrencies

We must say that not all cryptocurrencies are equally sensitive to attacks of this type. Due to the way this is played out, those using a majority consensus are more likely to receive one.

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In theory, cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, Ethereum or Litecoin are more susceptible to attack. However, their defenses are also very effective, as these situations are a real problem for them.

There is another issue to consider. This strategy requires a high investment, and the cost would normally exceed the benefit obtained. Therefore, this makes it very unlikely in reality, although it is a threat to be taken into account.

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The double spending attack

The double spending attack, double speding in English, would be the step after the 51% attack and is used to obtain benefits. In this way, the cybercriminal carries out a double spending procedure, hence its name.

First you make a legal transaction, and at the same time, you carry out a fraudulent one. Then, it focuses on the second until it is much larger than the first. The fraudulent one then replaces the legal one and is considered valid by the platform.

Finally, the profits are collected by recovering the cryptocurrencies of the legal investment. In this way, we are facing a speculative strategy that seeks to control a situation to promote a movement in one direction, using fraud.

Bitcoin and the 51% attack

Bitcoin is the cryptocurrency par excellence and the Gash.IO company was very close to that 51%. However, they knew how to defend themselves against this attack by offering sufficient security to their users. Furthermore, the counterattack was quick, effective and efficient.

In fact, the security of this digital currency has been questioned many times. Some central banks of the world even made fun of it and mentioned the 51% attack. Among them, the Bank of Canada, which had to rectify, like the others, over time.

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