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Is the Blockchain Compromised? What the DARPA Report Really Means

One of the main things advocates love about the blockchain is its security πŸ”’. After all, with a decentralized system, what could go wrong? πŸ€” Well, according to a recent Defense Advanced Research Project (DARPA) report, the blockchain might have some cracks in it after all.

The June 2022 report, called “Are Blockchains Decentralized?” discovered essential susceptibilities that could blockchain technology’s intended “decentralized” principles. Here’s what the report says about the digital technologies powering crypto πŸ¦Ύβ€”and whether you should worry about the security level of the blockchain system.Β 

A Quick Review of Blockchain Tech

Part of the draw of the blockchain’s core technology is the fact that it is decentralized. This means that it isn’t governed by any federal government, parent organization, or other entity. Instead, the blockchain’s digital technologies πŸ‘©β€πŸ’» are regulated by a ledger that is created by a huge network of computers around the world 🌎. 

This system is widely believed to have a higher security level πŸ•΅οΈ than many other systems; robbing a digital wallet is extremely rare unless you leave a password lying around. It’s also often more anonymous than other systems, assigning each user a code and not requiring them to supply personal information that could be hacked 😲. 

What the “Are Blockchains Decentralized?” Report Says About Blockchain Tech

DARPA commissioned Trail of Bits, an organization that “provides technical security assessment and advisory services to some of the world’s most targeted organizations,” to prepare this report. Basically, Trail of Bits found that the blockchain network focuses power πŸ’ͺ in the hands of particular individuals or firms. These big organizations consist of the big swimming pools of “miners” whose computer systems make online money by keeping the blockchains.

Get this: almost two-thirds (60%) of all Bitcoin web traffic used just three ISPs during the previous five years πŸ–, according to the record. In addition, around half of all Bitcoin website traffic was supposedly directed via the Tor Project, the largest network provider of Bitcoin 🀯.

The report calls πŸ—£ these prospective powerful entities “unexpected centralities.” These entities basically take advantage of the decentralized system, increasing the chances of the precious blockchain ledger being compromised.Β 

The Problem with Unexpected Centralities

It’s true that despite common knowledge 🧠, cryptocurrency systems aren’t totally self-governing. Volunteer core programmers regularly work to boost them, and it was inevitable that they would form larger groups. Due to the fact that cryptocurrencies are decentralized, without any oversight πŸ‘€ by federal governments or reserve banks, the interest and agreement 🀝 of the individuals in those networks become paramount. However, the DARPA report points to the possibility that these influential entities could possibly have the capability to limit specific purchases of Bitcoin.Β 

If someone with top-down control in a particular area begins to disrupt that network, they could reduce or even stop πŸ›‘ reputable blockchain web traffic. Such an aggressor might end up with a lot of power over what makes it into the blockchain.Β 

Old Core Technology?

The unexpected centralization isn’t the only problem Trail of Bits points out 😯. According to the record, around 21% of Bitcoin nodes are running an old variation of a Bitcoin core technology with a lower security level 😨.

Trail of Bits states that obvious software program adjustments from this antiquated core technology can change the state of a blockchain. This puts a lot of reliance on the designers of the blockchain software program. If they turn out to be untrustworthy, it makes the whole system distinctively prone to assaults 😈.

Trail of Bits argues this is akin to delegating the security level of the system to someone else instead of taking care of it yourself. 

Should I Pull Out of Crypto?

Experts seem to believe the DARPA/Trail of Bits report isn’t a significant problem for cryptocurrency right now. Firstly, the DARPA report was sponsored πŸ€‘ by the federal government, and many believe it is more of a projection of the path of cryptocurrency than a picture of how secure it is right now.

Second, decentralization is an ever-evolving system. For example, a few of the more recent forms of cryptocurrency, specifically those that count on a system called “evidence of risk,” make use of much less computer power πŸ‘¨β€πŸ’». Bitcoin’s energy-intensive “evidence of job” blockchain, while questionable for ecological public values, would likewise take a lot more computer power to corrupt.

Finally, it’s important to remember that hackers aren’t just a crypto problem. Yes, hackers cost crypto billions each year, but they also cost regular old banks billions each year. A heightened security level 🦾 is key for law enforcement agencies and decentralized currencies alike.Β 

The Latest Web3 Information

Both the efforts of intelligence 🧠 agencies and crypto white hat coders may be focused on the cyber security level, but there’s a lot more going on in the metaverse than the DARPA report. Public input values may rise and fall, but the metaverse likely isn’t going anywhere. To stay up to date on the latest web3 news, be sure to sign up ✍️ for my newsletter!