bitPico Threatens Bitcoin Cash With 'Multiple Forks' - Bitsonline

bitPico Threatens Bitcoin Cash With ‘Multiple Forks’

The anonymous group known as bitPico have declared they’re in the process of bringing thousands of “attack nodes” online in an effort to 51 percent attack Bitcoin Cash (BCH) and create “multiple forks.” Some think it’s all smoke, but the group does have a reputation for stress tests.

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From Lightning Network to Bitcoin Cash

Back in March 2018, a series of distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks against Bitcoin’s proposed layer-two scaling solution, the Lightning Network, led to rumors that the “Developers, Miners, and Whales” behind bitPico were responsible.

Within two weeks, bitPico tweeted official responsibility for the attacks, saying the effort was a “test” and the result of the creation of a “network stress tool for LN” — i.e. the anonymous group was submitting the fledgling network to real-world, adversarial conditions to probe its strength. The group told the press that “as people with investment into bitcoin, we want to make sure layer-two solutions do not get [overwhelmed] out of the gate.”

“If LN can only work if no one tries to attack it, it doesn’t work,” Bitcoin lecturer Andreas Antonopoulos said at the time. “Let’s harden it now, with this free testing.”

Others openly applauded the measure.

After another few weeks passed, however, bitPico turned their sights to Bitcoin Cash (BCH), saying as much on June 21st. It was then that the group declared their confidence in having the requisite infrastructure to split Bitcoin Cash into “multiple forks” this coming September.

A day later on June 22nd, bitPico announced the “attack has been started” and that they expected to have 5,000 “attack nodes” running within a few weeks. The group also said Roger Ver, Bitcoin.com owner and lightning rod Bitcoin Cash supporter, “will cry” accordingly:

Shortly thereafter, bitPico said their latest stress test tool was ready for “botnet deployment”:

Into the Maw

Whereas bitPico cast its Lightning Network DDoS attacks as benevolent, the group’s remarks on its Bitcoin Cash endeavors have seemed more along the lines of “survive … if you can.”

I’ve asked the group for clarification as to their precise end-game and will update this article accordingly if they choose to comment. From their public remarks, it’s clear in the very least that they’re gunning for 51 percent attacks against BCH  — considerable flexes if they can be actualized. Indeed, “consensus failure” is nothing for any crypto project to sneeze at.

The group has even proposed how to attack BCH zero-confirmation transactions, saying the crypto’s proponents don’t understand “how easy it is to bring their network down”:

Interestingly, the group’s aforementioned 6-week timeline would see their project hitting stride just two weeks shy of the Bitcoin Cash community’s unrelated September 1st BCH Stress Test Day — a whitehat “community-driven stress test of the Bitcoin Cash network and its services.” Whether bitPico lined such up on purpose is unclear, though the group is at least aware of the campaign.

On Saturday, June 23rd, bitPico said it had received death threats, though it also wasn’t clear if these threats were related to the group’s BCH attack nodes.

The group, who has now published the first stage of their BCH network test toolkit on GitHub, is no stranger to controversy. Last year as the SegWit2x debates boiled over, bitPico said they’d be continuing the fork until support disintegrated. At the time, the group claimed of having “30% [of Bitcoin’s] network hash-rate.”

Bitcoin Cash Devs Respond

I reached out to several Bitcoin Cash developers for comment on bitPico’s latest effort, and Bitcoin ABC’s Amaury Sechet and Bitcoin Unlimited’s Antony Zeger were among those who got back to me.

Sechet said it was “hard to answer” what the group’s larger goal was. “I think [they hope] to split the network by creating many nodes,” Sechet said, though, again, we can only presume the why until bitPico definitively says what they’re hoping to accomplish before they call the dogs off, as it were.

Bitcoin Cash

Zeger was more dismissive of the threat, telling Bitsonline via email:

“No, I don’t know anything about it. It seems like nothing though, I’ve heard others say that the fellow has made other outlandish claims before that amounted to nothing.”

So the Bitcoin Cash network will be one to watch over the next 6 weeks in case the group really does ramp up their efforts. But some, like Zeger, think it all may be more smoke than fire. We’ll have to wait and see.

What’s your take? Do you think is this good or bad news for BCH? Sound off in the comments below. 


Images via Pixabay

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