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

F2Pool co-founder Chun Wang has actually reacted to allegations that his mining swimming pool has actually been controling Ethereum obstruct timestamps to “obtain consistently higher mining rewards.”

The allegations came from an Aug. 5 paper from researchers at The Hebrew University, claiming the mining pool has been engaging in a “consensus-level” attack on Ethereum over the last two years to gain an edge over “honest” miners.  

However, Wang on Twitter responded by saying that “we respect the *consensus* as is”, suggesting that deliberately making use of the system’s guidelines doesn’t always imply that guidelines have actually been broken.

Earlier today, the scientists shared what they declare has actually been the initially evidence of a “consensus-level attack” on Ethereum, in which miners such as F2Pool have actually discovered a method to control block timestamps to regularly get greater mining benefits compared to mining “honestly.”

The term paper was penned by cryptocurrency speaker Aviv Yaish, software application algorithm designer Gilad Stern, and computer system researcher Aviv Zohar, declaring that Ethereum mining swimming pool F2Pool has actually been among the miners that have actually been utilizing this timestamp control method.

“Although most mining pools produce relatively inconspicuous-looking blocks, F2Pool blatantly disregards the rules and uses false timestamps for its blocks,” stated Yaish, including that the mining swimming pool has actually been performing the attack over the last 2 years.

Wang likewise appeared to own up to proof provided by Yaish, showing that the timestamp control was being done deliberately. 

F2Pool is a geographically dispersed mining swimming pool, which primarily mines obstructs on the Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Litecoin networks. 

How the ‘attack’ works

According to the scientists, Ethereum’s present proof-of-work (POW) agreement system consists of a vulnerability that provides miners a “certain degree of freedom” when setting timestamps, which indicates that incorrect timestamps can be produced.

“For example, a miner can start mining a block now, but set the block’s timestamp to actually be 5 seconds in the past, or 10 seconds in the future. As long as this timestamp is within a certain reasonable bound, the block will still be considered valid, according to Ethereum’s consensus laws.”

The capability to develop these incorrect timestamps provides miners an edge in a “tie-breaking” circumstance since a miner can change another miner’s blocks that is of the very same block height by making the timestamp low adequate to boost the block’s mining problem.

Related: Ethereum Merge: How will the PoS shift effect the ETH environment?

However, this vulnerability might be fixed after Ethereum shifts to proof-of-stake (POS) after the upcoming Merge on Sep. 19, which makes use of a various set of agreement guidelines.

“An obvious mitigation technique which will solve both this attack and any other PoW-related one, is to migrate Ethereum’s consensus mechanism to proof-of-stake (PoS).”

“Other solutions which might be smaller in scope and thus easier to implement are to adopt better fork-choosing rules, use reliable timestamps, or avoid using timestamps for difficulty adjustments altogether,” the scientists included.