Odd Bitcoin Cash activity has holders nervous

The Bitcoin Cash (BCH) network reportedly came under attack recently, leading to a tidal wave of questions and concerns about the blockchain’s stability. That attack initiated a series of questionable transactions that are causing even some of the most hardened BCH enthusiasts to have second thoughts about the network’s long-term viability and stability as an alternative to fiat.

Network analysis has shown that there have been unidentified miners throttling the blockchain so heavily that a backlog in activity had become the new standard. The miners were never traced to a particular mining pool, which only added to the mystery. The overwhelming amount of activity could not be traced to any particular event, such as a planned stress test, and the backlog of transactions took nine hours to be completely cleared.

According to a breakdown of the activity, which had been posted on Reddit, miners were able to generate 18 blocks an hour – three times the amount that should have normally appeared. The Reddit post explains, “It is important to note that persistent backlogs are a death-blow to the [zero-confirmation] concept, which requires predictable next block inclusion. As long as there is no backlog, then a recipient can know that any transaction that pays the minfee [minimum fee] will be accepted. Under conditions of backlog, this predictability is degraded, possibly fatally.” That last statement is particularly ominous, as it suggests that subsequent blocks would be impacted and that the entire system could crash. 

While the blockchain appears to now be back to normal, the activity has posed some serious questions. If it were so easy for the attack to occur, what’s to stop another, larger attack from being launched? Additionally, the low-fee broadcast transactions, which are often indicative of a dusting attack, could have been setting the stage for that larger attack. Litecoin saw a similar dusting attack last month, which may or may not have been linked to the most recent BCH attack.

The price of BCH wasn’t permanently impacted by the attack or the backlog; however, a look at the blockchain’s hash rate on bitinfocharts.com shows that it has stagnated this year, along with its number of transactions.