Medalla has launched
Medalla, the final testnet before the launch of the Ethereum 2.0, went live with over 20,000 validators, according to the Beaconcha block explorer.
There were multiple Eth 2.0 testnets over the course of the last two years, but they were centrally coordinated by developers. Medalla, on the contrary, is public, so the health of the network is in the hands of the community. And since it has proven to run stable, word on the street is that the launch of Eth 2.0 might happen by the end of this year.
Meanwhile, the Ethereum foundation is hiring a variety of security and auditing experts to form a dedicated team to research any potential vulnerabilities.
Ethereum 2.0 is a long-awaited transition from the current proof-of-work to a proof-of-stake consensus algorithm. This upgrade is expected to help with network congestion, significantly reduce transaction fees, and bring ETH staking rewards on the mainnet.
Transactions in this network are processed by shards, each of which consists of 64 randomly chosen validators. The original Ethereum blockchain will be eventually integrated into Ethereum 2.0 as a shard.
A series of 51% attacks puts Ethereum Classic’s security into question
An adversary performed a successful 51% attack on the Ethereum Classic (ETC) network between July 31 and August 1. The hacker was able to steal around $5.6 million worth of ETC from the OKEx crypto exchange, according to Bitquery.
Later, on August 6, the attacker used the same scheme to double-spend an additional $1.68 million worth of ETC. This time the targets were Bitfinex and another unidentified crypto service.
The necessary hash power for these double-spend attacks was rented on cloud mining marketplace NiceHash — which was also used during a recent 51% attack attempt on Bitcoin Gold (BTG). The team behind BTG mitigated the attack by asking miners to follow the so-called “honest” chain instead of the longest one, basically censoring attacker’s blocks.
Such controversial measures, however, would be against Ethereum Classic’s core principles of decentralization and censorship-resistance, so it’s unclear how the community is planning to deal with similar attacks in the future. Meanwhile, US-based crypto exchange Coinbase increased the confirmation time for ETC deposits to roughly 2 weeks.
The second 51% attack on ETC didn’t have any significant impact on its price, though. One of the reasons for such a small market change, among other things, is that 10% of all ETC supply is held in a regulated trust run by Grayscale Investments, which also funds the development of Ethereum Classic, according to CoinDesk. Both Grayscale and CoinDesk are subsidiaries of American venture capital company Digital Currency Group (DCG) founded by Barry Silbert, a long-time supporter of ETC.
Given the very low cost of a 51% attack against ETC, Vitalik Buterin suggested that switching to a proof-of-stake consensus algorithm would be a lower-risk strategy for Ethereum Classic, than using a proof-of-work algorithm. Ethereum Classic originated in 2016 as a hard fork of Ethereum, when the latter’s community made a controversial decision to reverse the DAO hack, which sparked discussions about network’s censorship-resistance.
In other news
Grayscale Investments launched an ad campaign for Bitcoin and Ethereum on mainstream American television channels such as CNBC, MSNBC, FOX, and FOX Business. Grayscale’s total crypto assets under management rose above $5.6 billion in August.
Following suit, The CEO of BitcoinBCH.com, Hayden Otto, raised over $50,000 for a marketing campaign to produce high-quality videos promoting Bitcoin Cash (BCH) to the mainstream audience.
Crypto.com faced a serious backlash over a decision to swap its MCO tokens to CRO coins at a fixed ratio of 33:1 — instead of 100:1, as many investors expected. The company has also been suspected of insider trading.
Nasdaq-listed business intelligence firm MicroStrategy announced that it bought over $250 million in Bitcoin. The company CEO, Michael Saylor, cited the COVID-19 pandemic and the following unprecedented government financial stimulus measures as a reason for more long-term appreciation potential of holding Bitcoin, instead of fiat currencies.
Germany’s financial regulatory authority, BaFin, seized 17 unlicensed ATMs operated by Polish company Shitcoins Club. The European nation recognized cryptocurrencies as financial instruments and enabled banks to sell and store cryptos since January. However, other crypto businesses need to obtain a license from BaFin in order to continue their operations in the country.