Although Bitcoin has risen to all new highs in 2020, many cryptocurrency supporters have been complaining about the backlog of memory pools and the high fees required to send transactions. At the same time, the Lightning Network has not been widely adopted, and many attack vectors have been discovered this year.
At the time of publication, the Bitcoin (BTC) mempool (unfinished transactions) showed more than 113,000 unconfirmed transactions and has not reached such a high level since 2017. During the bull market three years ago, transaction fees and unconfirmed transactions increased through the roof. Currently, according to bitcoinfees.cash data on October 31, the next BTC block fee is $10.77, and the current median fee is $6.43.
Even with high fees and memory pool congestion, the larger Bitcoin community still mainly conducts transactions on the chain. The Layer 2 protocol called Lightning Network (LN) built on top of Bitcoin is designed to alleviate the problem and assumes that people will switch to LN solutions. However, this has never been achieved because LN software is considered too difficult for ordinary users, many applications are hosted, and many vulnerabilities have been disclosed this year.
Even if the LN Total Value Lock (TVL) reaches the highest level in history ($14.3 million) in 2020, it still cannot approach the Bitcoin (BTC) held on Ethereum worth more than $2 billion. The attack vector has also been making cryptocurrency advocates skeptical of layer 2 protocols because many vulnerabilities have been disclosed. For example, independent Bitcoin and Lightning Network engineer Joost Jager posted a tweet on September 22.
“Lightning is great, but it cannot be said to have been tested,” Said Jaeger “If script kids are interested, they can delete those brand new 5 BTC wonderful channels at a negligible cost and no effort.” Any script kid can use “distress attacks” to delete these 5 BTCs effortlessly. The fact of the channel is frustrating.
In addition, researchers Jona Harris and Aviv Zohar recently published a paper titled “Flood and Predation: Systemic Attacks on the Lightning Network”, which resembles the sad attack.
The author of the paper explained: “One of the risks found early is a widespread system attack on the protocol, in which the attacker immediately triggered the closure of many lightning channels.” “The large number of transactions generated in the blockchain will not be properly resolved. With all debts, the attacker may steal some funds and escape. This article explores the details of this attack and assesses its cost and overall impact on Bitcoin and the Lightning Network.”
In addition, on June 2, 2020, Antoine Riard and Gleb Naumenko published another paper on Lightning Network vulnerabilities, called “Time Spread Attack”. Naumenko and Riard disclosed a frightening fact about time-spreading attacks, which is that “it is currently possible to steal the total channel capacity by covering the nodes for only 2 hours.”
Soon after the issue occurred, Antoine Riard recently discussed another vulnerable vulnerability called a “fixed attack.” Riard pointed out that, as far as he knows, “the LN peer-to-peer network currently deployed cannot prevent [certain Pinning Attack] Scenes. “Riard emphasized that a special situation “needs heavy long-term work at the basic level.”
The Lightning Network has been around for a long time, but these vulnerabilities and vulnerabilities coupled with the unfriendly user experience make it hard to imagine that second-tier solutions will become popular.
Of course, some exploits are much more expensive than other attacks, so engineers are studying solutions to these problems. However, as one pointed out on Twitter, many Lightning Network skeptics do not believe that the LN protocol will always be ready.
Even if this is successful (by 2051, one-third of the purchasers have died), the Lightning Network will still be vulnerable to Flood and Loot attacks, as well as trivial DDOS attacks at the protocol level. The Lightning Network is by no means a solution.
What do you think of the Lightning Network vulnerability disclosed this year? Do you think this is a good scaling solution? Tell us what you think in the comments section below.
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