You’ll no doubt have seen this doing the rounds on Twitter recently.
Jared Tate (the founder of DigiByte) and Charlie Lee (the founder of Litecoin) both discussing the security of their respective blockchains.
To many untrained eyes watching, you’d be forgiven for presuming one or the other was wrong, but I’m here to tell you they’re both right! In addition to this, we want to get a video-chat discussion going between them to have some of the greatest minds in the Blockchain space discuss this and more!
Before we go any further: Please don’t take this as a “fight” between the two cryptocurrencies, I would suggest a healthy and respectful discussion like this is definitely mutually beneficial!
So how are they both right?
Well, Jared has stated that the security from being MultiAlgo combined with DigiShield protects them against a sudden influx / outflow of hash power, not to mention safety from all the (say) SHA256 hash power in the world being thrown at DigiByte. The attacker would only get 20% of blocks if they had more than 50% of the hash power of an algorithm such as SHA256. They would be unable to perform a double-spend attack.
Is this true?
Yes! If you took all the (approx) 40,000 PH/s of SHA256 hashpower in the world, and aimed it all at DigiByte, an attacker would still be unable to perform a double-spend.
Same for the 275TH/s of Scrypt hashpower from Litecoin, even at the same time as attacking with SHA256, an attacker would still be unable to perform a double-spend.
So, Jared is correct to state that you could take all the worlds Scrypt hash power and you couldn’t double-spend on DigiByte.
But what about what Charlie stated for Litecoin?
Well, he’s also correct.
He’s stated that as Litecoin has (approx) 275TH/s of the global (approx) 300TH/s of Scrypt hash power, for somebody to perform a double-spend would need to either rent or buy untold amounts of hashpower that likely doesn’t exist in the world at present.
As of today, July 16th, I believe that to purchase the Scrypt hash power needed to attempt a double-spend attack on Litecoin would cost approx USD$1.1 billion
Compared to the need to purchase USD$60 million in hardware to attempt a double-spend attack on DigiByte.
Keep in mind that at this time there is nowhere you can purchase anywhere near that amount of hardware needed, or even rent it, for both blockchains, so we’re talking purely hypothetical here.
So again, Charlie is right, in that because the *cost* of hardware needed to attack Litecoin is greater, he’s again asserting that Litecoin is more secure.
Charlie is correct.
If I had half a billion dollars, aside from the fact there’s nowhere in the world that would sell me or rent me the hash power I need, I could only hypothetically attempt to attack DigiByte, but I couldn’t with Litecoin.
So they’re both right?
But which is more secure?
Personally I think you need both aspects. (It’s a real good way for me to sit on the fence here)
DigiByte having Multi-Algo alone is not enough. DigiShield alone is not enough to protect from this (It was never intended to).
Having the dominant hash power alone in an algo is fantastic, but not enough in some cases still.
If you were a 3rd party blockchain, say Gulden (Scrypt), you could easily have a double-spend attack performed on your blockchain because you’re not the dominant chain with hash power in your chosen algo.
Same goes for Bitcoin with approx 35,000PH/s vs Bitcoin Cash on 4,000PH/s, there are at least 3x Bitcoin mining pools that have that sort of hash power that could perform a double-spend themselves on Bitcoin Cash.
So having the dominant hash power of a certain algorithm is certainly a good thing!
Bitcoin Gold also found that they could be attacked, with attackers renting the Equihash GPU mining power and successfully performing a double-spend attack on Bitcoin Gold.
Now ZCash are holds approx 600MH/s of the global 800MH/s in Equihash hash power, so ZCash are ‘safe’-ish but GPU’s are flexible and multi-mining pools can change the algorithm they mine, so it’s plausible on a single algo like this you could still attempt to round up enough hash power to perform a double-spend on ZCash as well.
What about LBRY? They have approx 260TH/s of the global 400TH/s, that’s good right?
Again, probably, but the theory goes that you could potentially try to round up the remaining hashpower to rent (The other 140TH/s is on NiceHash) and buy some more hardware of your own to bring you over the line to having 51% hash power.
How does DigiByte fit into this then?
Well DigiByte has the dominant hash power globally on 3 of the 5x algos (Qubit, Myr-Gr & Skein), and not just by a small margin either according to todays stats at whattomine.com/asic :
21TH/s on Skein of the 23TH/s globally available
64TH/s on Myr-Gr of the 81TH/s globally available
49TH/s on Qubit of the 67TH/s globally available
So do DigiByte / Litecoin need to be concerned?
Security is always an on-going concern, however, at this point in time the chances of either blockchain suffering a double-spend attack are incredibly slim.
For a double-spend to occur on either chain, it becomes more and more difficult as each day passes, and at present I don’t believe the hash power in the world exists that could be used to perform a double-spend attack on either DigiByte or Litecoin.
I would encourage both the DigiByte and Litecoin communities to take heart knowing that their respective blockchains are very well secured in this respect, better than almost all others out there!
What now then?
There’s been a lot of back and forth, a lot of needless aggression that’s simply not helpful in any way, shape, or form. I would suggest there is no need for any animosity here, and there are bigger and more pressing problems that face the crypto community as a whole.
There are far too many scam, 100% premines, centralized / privately controlled coins out there that I believe the attention should be focused on. There are far too many similarities between Litecoin and DigiByte (With DigiByte forking originally from the Litecoin codebase) for the communities to see each other as rivals, when we should be educating newcomers about the pitfalls of those other coins / tokens.
We should be educating newcomers on what to look for in scams, not in-fighting between two solid blockchains!
I’m trying to convince Charlie to join Jared on a Livestream for a healthy discussion about the two blockchains, security, scaling, scams and more. Jared has already confirmed he is willing to join too :-)
This kind of thing should be the focus of our two communities, in building each other up!