Possible Bitcoin Network Spam Attack is One User’s Moby Dick
A Twitter user named LaurentMT has been battling his very own “Moby Dick.” He implied the White Whale has come in the form of a spam attack on the network, which has caused blocks to consume too many utxos (unspent transaction outputs) in the system in recent weeks. The user commented on Twitter in a series of charts, primarily containing information on block size and utxos.
Most interestingly, LaurentMT suggested recent mempool backlog — causing slow transaction times and higher fees — has been a result of this Moby Dick spam attack. For anyone curious about utxo’s, they are merely unspent bitcoins that can potentially eat up block space and clog the network.
That’s it. This line is composed of blocks consuming many utxos created during a same period (identified by the intersect with the x axis). pic.twitter.com/POAHqOFhvV
LaurentMT Tweeted the attack on the network has been in effect for 18 months, until Janurary 2017. He went on to say spamming the network with fan-out transactions is a multi-stage operation, and people generally only notice the first stage and then forget an attack was under way. Laurent mentioned these type of attacks are insidious and can last months or years without anyone knowing.
Information on Alleged Conspiracy Theory to Spam the Network
Lauren’tMT isn’t the only individual to suggest the network has been attacked. Ian Freeman of Freetalk Live wrote an article celebrating reduced fees on the bitcoin network.
However, he mentioned the network could have been backlogged as a result of a possible network spam attack. He said this kind of thinking obviously leads into conspiracy theory territory, but the halted attack does coincide with agreements for activating Segwit, especially the “New York Agreement” or Segwit2x.
Ian said, “Some have suggested that the Bitcoin network was being spammed with junk transactions and that whoever was spamming it, ceased after the agreement was put in place. That’s obviously speculation, but if it’s true, then who was doing the spamming? Was it the people supporting small blocks? The people supporting large blocks? Both of them?”
No one really knows for sure if the network was being spammed. But LaurentMT’s accumulated evidence gives people pause to consider the network may have been dealing with the White Whale for some time. LaurentMT called for more research to discover the truth.
Do you believe the network has had to deal with a White Whale (spam) attack on the network? Let us know in the comments below.
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