How likely is a 51% attack on Bitcoin?


There has been a wave of attacks on cryptocurrencies, with hackers making away with millions of dollars. Verge Coin was recently under siege and now Bitcoin Gold, a fork of Bitcoin is the latest victim to come under a 51% attack. Can this woe befall Bitcoin?

The nightmare of every cryptocurrency is to become victim to a 51% attack. This attack is only possible in a situation whereby an entity controls 51% of the cryptocurrency's network hash rate. This gives them the power to manipulate the network as they wish. Most attackers immediately go after the money, spending a number of times the same coins they've already spent.

This phenomenon is called double-spending. 

The Bitcoin Gold (BTG) incident took many by surprise. For most investors, it's the first time they'll witness a 51% attack happening in the real world although they are familiar with the term and what it means.

The attack came at a time when cryptocurrencies are still trying to rally from huge drops experienced early in the year and crypto exchanges are getting hacked. The BTG attackers made away with millions of dollars and the team is still scrambling to put things back in control. 

This has led many to wonder- is it possible Bitcoin fall victim to a 51% attack? 

That possibility is very low, considering how strong the Bitcoin network is. According to Bitcoin evangelist and veteran software engineer Andreas Antonopoulos, it is very very unlikely that Bitcoin undergoes a 51% attack. 

“I don’t worry about that [51% attack on bitcoin] at all. This cannot be done with bitcoin anymore. This is something that could only be done with nascent altcoins. "

"Bitcoin has achieved a level of computing that no single nation-state can overthrow it with computation alone. The effort to do so would require a massive covert operation of chip fabrication then the coordinated assault that would give them dominance over the next block for 10 minutes until we kick those bastards off the network, rework the protocol around them, they would be revealed, they would have lost a billion dollars doing this and all they got to do is one double spend.”

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