F2Pool co-founder responds to allegations it’s dishonest the Ethereum POW system



F2Pool co-founder Chun Wang has responded to allegations that his mining pool has been manipulating Ethereum block timestamps to “obtain constantly better mining rewards.”

The allegations arrived from an Aug. 5 paper from researchers at The Hebrew University, professing the mining pool has been engaging in a “consensus-stage” attack on Ethereum more than the past two several years to acquire an edge more than “straightforward” miners.  

On the other hand, Wang on Twitter responded by stating that “we regard the *consensus* as is”, implying that deliberately exploiting the system’s rules does not automatically signify that regulations have been damaged.

Previously this week, the scientists shared what they declare has been the very first proof of a “consensus-degree attack” on Ethereum, in which miners these as F2Pool have identified a way to manipulate block timestamps to constantly get larger mining benefits in comparison to mining “honestly.”

The research paper was penned by cryptocurrency lecturer Aviv Yaish, application algorithm developer Gilad Stern, and laptop scientist Aviv Zohar, alleging that Ethereum mining pool F2Pool has been 1 of the miners that have been using this timestamp manipulation approach.

“Although most mining pools generate relatively inconspicuous-searching blocks, F2Pool blatantly disregards the regulations and makes use of bogus timestamps for its blocks,” stated Yaish, incorporating that the mining pool has been executing the attack about the last two yrs.

Wang also appeared to personal up to evidence introduced by Yaish, indicating that the timestamp manipulation was getting done deliberately. 

F2Pool is a geographically dispersed mining pool, which typically mines blocks on the Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Litecoin networks. 

How the ‘attack’ works

In accordance to the researchers, Ethereum’s present-day proof-of-operate (POW) consensus mechanism includes a vulnerability that gives miners a “certain degree of freedom” when location timestamps, which implies that untrue timestamps can be developed.

“For illustration, a miner can start mining a block now, but established the block’s timestamp to basically be 5 seconds in the earlier, or 10 seconds in the long run. As extensive as this timestamp is inside a certain sensible sure, the block will even now be thought of legitimate, according to Ethereum’s consensus regulations.”

The means to produce these false timestamps offers miners an edge in a “tie-breaking” situation for the reason that a miner can replace another miner’s blocks that is of the very same block top by creating the timestamp minimal ample to maximize the block’s mining problem.

Associated: Ethereum Merge: How will the PoS changeover affect the ETH ecosystem?

However, this vulnerability may possibly be solved immediately after Ethereum transitions to evidence-of-stake (POS) soon after the approaching Merge on Sep. 19, which utilizes a distinctive established of consensus regulations.

“An evident mitigation system which will address both equally this attack and any other PoW-associated a person, is to migrate Ethereum’s consensus mechanism to evidence-of-stake (PoS).”

“Other alternatives which could possibly be lesser in scope and thus easier to put into action are to adopt much better fork-choosing procedures, use trusted timestamps, or avoid working with timestamps for issues changes altogether,” the scientists added.