On October 24, 2017, a new cryptocurrency – Bitcoin Gold (BTG) – became the latest “fork” of the original Bitcoin with the explicit mission to “Make Bitcoin Decentralized Again”. The project’s website immediately came under “massive” denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks.
BitCoin Gold is the latest “fork” of the popular cryptocurrency Bitcoin, intended to be a more democratic spin-off of the original that decentralizes mining. Bitcoin Gold can be mined by anyone with a graphics processing unit which has roots in the original Bitcoin i.e. anyone holding Bitcoin at the time of the fork should be able to access free BTG, as explained on CoinDesk.
The goal behind Bitcoin Gold is to create an ASIC-resilient mining ecosystem in which the gap between ASIC mining and GPU/CPI mining is less significant.
However, shortly after the launch, the developer team took to Twitter to disclose major challenges: “Massive DDoS attack on our cloud site. 10M requests per minute. We are working with the providers to ban all the IPs. We will be up soon!”
The website was under attack for approximately four hours, preventing tracking of the cryptocurrency’s initial progress and inciting rumors about the team’s lack of crucial website security knowledge. It’s likely that a network of hijacked devices were behind the attack – aiming to block out legitimate traffic by accessing the Bitcoin Gold site 10 million times a minute. The Bitcoin Gold Slack channel said that most of those attacks were coming out of China.
Many channels exist to facilitate such attacks – botnets (robot networks) can be purchased in the service of DDoS attacks for under $200, making smaller companies particularly vulnerable.
DDoS attacks are common at the launch of most cryptocurrency projects, especially as relates to controversial or divisive projects, such as Bitcoin Gold.
Hong Kong-based LightningAsic CEO Jack Liao, the figure behind BitCoin, Gold, is openly critical about Bitcoin mining as it currently exists, and those who profit from it. His outspoken opinions could be one cause of the attacks.
However, another controversial facet of BTG is the fact that it uses a process to privately create cryptocurrency before it is open-sourced to the public. This has led to angry commentary on Twitter and developer channels such as Github.
There are various other contentious aspects of the project – including the fact that BTG is susceptible to “replay attack”– meaning transaction complications, which arise when two incompatible versions of the Bitcoin blockchain cannot distinguish each other. Coin Telegraph said it has “essentially zero chance of replacing Bitoin in the marketplace as a fork” due to the fact that it’s “more of an air-drop than a chain split”. And some exchanges, including Bittrex, the world’s third largest exchange, have refused to add the crptocurrency to their platform, “due to its lack of code testing, auditing and replay protection”.
Nevertheless, BTG trades as a future on the Bitfinex platform; the cryptocurrency remains under development, and an official soft launch is expected any day that will release the code, send users a mirror balance of their Bitcoin in Bitcoin Gold and allow them to start mining it.