Insiders most like to describe Blockchain as Immutable Distributed Ledger technology. They love that it’s distributed, and a “ledger” rather than a database. But most of all, they seem to like that it’s “immutable.” To enthusiasts, this means that the unbreakable cryptography and other techno-nerd elements result in impregnable, hack-proof software. In a world filled with crappy software that’s thoroughly “mutable,” hackable, breakable and a smorgasbord of other criminal, consumer-hurting things, this is a wonderful thing. No wonder so many people and corporations are jumping on the Blockchain Bandwagon. The smell of FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) fills the air.
The FOMO is really strong on Blockchain. So strong that it appears to prevent enthusiasts from paying attention to the fact that has been established over the last few years: Blockchain may indeed be Distributed and a Ledger (more on those in subsequent posts), but it’s hardly immutable. In fact, it’s just as hackable as any other piece of software – even more so because no one’s in charge of keeping it safe!
The latest loss is small by comparison to some of the earlier ones. The one announced on January 8, 2019 amounts to “just” $200,000 worth of ethereum classic. What’s worse is that the attack was at the core of the blockchain. Apparently the attack was carried out by miners, the servers that are at the core of blockchain’s operations and security, the ones that perform the magic cryptography that supposedly prevents bad things from happening. The hack itself involved the absolutely worst thing that can happen to a crypto-currency – about 40,000 ETC was double-spent.