Decentralized Crypto Vulnerable to 51% Attacks by Definition, as per Charlie Lee

The creator of Litecoin (LTC), which is the top seventh cryptocurrency by market cap, Charlie Lee stated in a tweet Jan. 7 that decentralized crypto is vulnerable to 51% attacks by definition.

Interestingly, Lee shared his observation in the wake of recent news about unusual mining activity on the ETC network. He stated that a decentralized cryptocurrency must be susceptible to 51% attacks, by definition. This attack can be from the perspective of the stake, hashrate, and/or other permissionlessly-acquirable resources. As per him, if a crypto network can’t be 51% attacked, it is permissioned and centralized.

It is to be noted that Lee’s statement was in response to another tweet stating that “if it can’t be 51% attacked, it isn’t decentralized,” from Twitter user CryptoTesla. The tweet was made in response to Coinbase’s announcement divulging it had detected double spends and chain reorganizations on Ethereum Classic’s blockchain on Jan. 7.

Following the series of events, Coinbase announced they had suspended deposits and withdrawals of Ethereum Classic on Jan. 5. Notably, the freeze is evidently still in place by press time.

ETC developers, on Jan. 7, denied the reports that the hashpower consolidation was, in fact, a 51 percent attack. They added that it was most likely selfish mining. They further mentioned that double spends did not take place.

The ETC team, later mentioned in a tweet that the increased hashrate might be attributed to the testing of new 1,400/Mh Ethash machines by ASIC manufacturer Linzhi. Nonetheless, Linzhi Shenzhen’s director of operations denied these claims in a tweet that has since been deleted.

The ETC team has abstained from applying the term “51% attack” to the incident, by press time. Moreover, one of their most recent tweets on the issue from today repeats an appeal to all mining pools and cryptocurrency exchanges to appreciably amplify confirmation time on all withdrawals and deposits.

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CryptoCurrencyUSDChange 1hChange 24hChange 7d
Bitcoin3,907.64 0.33 % 1.29 % 2.30 %
Ethereum132.75 0.01 % 1.39 % 4.16 %
XRP0.297 0.06 % 1.81 % 5.49 %
Litecoin58.20 0.20 % 1.53 % 2.55 %
Bitcoin Cash155.85 0.01 % 2.83 % 2.53 %