Cost of a 51% Attack on Altcoins is Disturbingly Lower Than People Thought

Cost of a 51% Attack on Altcoins is Disturbingly Lower Than People Thought

Attackers all over the world will not need to crack their brains anymore if a hack on a cryptocurrency network is worth it. Attackers can thank a new website which estimates the total cost for hacking and taking over 51% of an altcoin network.

The most common way of taking over 51% of the cryptocurrency network is by using a method called double spend. Double spend, however, requires effort and money, and so it is much needed to be calculated, or it could be one big failure.

A person available on Reddit by the name of /u/xur17 developed the website called crypto51. When asked why he did it, he replied-

“There was an attack against Bitcoin Gold a few days ago, which made me curious what the cost of an attack would be with rented hashing power. I did the math and was honestly kind of shocked – someone could attack a cryptocurrency worth close to a billion dollars for < $10k an hour and even less than that if you include the block rewards.

This got me to calculate the same figures for other coins, and again it was cheaper than I thought it should be. The goal of the site is to drive more attention to what I see as a pretty glaring problem with these smaller coins. Hashing power is easily retargetable, so not only can people rent hashing power, the larger mining pools can redirect hashing power at smaller coins for a few hours to attack them.”

Below is a picture from the crypto51 website-


Many have estimated costs of attacking and gaining more than 51% of the network to be much higher. The reason for the low cost is the change in the factor of mining equipment. Instead of buying the mining rig, the user added in costs of renting a mining rig.

Mining rigs are very expensive, and thus renting it out makes the attack far cheaper. The hardware required for such an attack could cost more than $1 billion if bought. Along with this electricity could be far more expensive.

Thus the user used the hashing power from NiceHash which has enough hardware to carry out an aggressive attack.

The website is released at a time when two popular cryptocurrencies, Verge, and Bitcoin Gold suffered 51% attacks last week.

Image Source: “Flickr”

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