Attacks on Ethereum 2.0 Possible, But Developer Outlined a Fix Before the Merge


Pivotal upgrades for Ethereum 2.0 have been slow but steady. While technical issues continue to bother the network, something that has dragged on for over two years, researchers have now detailed three scenarios of how Ethereum 2.0’s proof-of-stake (PoS) design could still be attacked. Don’t worry; they can be fixed too.

Serious Attacks on Ethereum’s PoS design

The world’s second most valuable cryptocurrency, Ethereum (ETH), has managed to notch another ATH in the early hours of Wednesday after last week’s successful completion of the 2.0 Altair Beacon Chain update.

A group of researchers had earlier identified three potential scenarios of how the design for the new consensus mechanism could be compromised. Despite this, Ethereum Foundation’s Danny Ryan is confident that “The Merge” will not be delayed, and the fix will be rolled out before Ethereum’s upcoming upgrade.

According to Ryan, there are two simple fixes that have been proposed to the fork choice – “proposer boosting” and “proposer view synchronization.”

Formally analyzed by the researchers at Stanford, the first solution – proposer boosting has been “spec’d” since April this year. In addition, the fix has also been implemented in at least one client.

On the other hand, the second solution – the proposer view synchronization – is in its early formal analysis phase, but researchers are fairly optimistic about it. Due to the reasons associated with simplicity and maturity in analysis, the researchers are now working with this method to fix all three attacks. As such, the Ethereum Foundation devs will implement this fix before the decisive phase of the transition begins.

No Hard Fork Required

In the latest blog post, Ryan also assured the community that the deployment of the Merge upgrade will not be delayed in any way. Besides, the application of the fix does not introduce breaking changes or need any sort of “hard fork.” Detailing the same, he stated,

“This fix targets only the fork choice and is therefore congruous with the Merge specs as written today. Under normal conditions, the fork choice is the exact same as it is now, but in the event of attack scenarios, the fixed version helps provide chain stability.”

As a matter of fact, ETH researchers and developers believe that the first proposed fix – proposer boosting – will be integrated formally into the consensus specs by the end of November this year. In that way, it will be live on the Merge testnets by mid-January 2022.

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