Dash which has experienced some network disruptions in the past has announced that it plans to implement the ChainLock protocol to solve these problems. Among the challenges the implementation of the ChainLock will solve is the possibility of 51 percent attack.
In Dash news today, a blog post by a Dash developer Codablock explained the network’s new approach to security adding that the new Dash Improvement Proposal (DIP) 8, also known as ChainLocks will take advantage of long-living masternode quorum (LLMQ) to sign blocks.
Eliminating Miner Misdemeanor
These blocks that would be signed as seen by the network will eliminate the possibility of reverse transactions according to the release.
“The idea of ChainLocks is to perform a verifiable network-wide measurement/vote of the “first-seen” rule. For each block, an LLMQ of a few hundred masternodes is selected and each participating member signs the first block that it sees extending the active chain at the current height. If enough members (e.g. >= 60%) see the same block as the first block, they will be able to create a P2P message (CLSIG) and propagate it to all nodes in the network. There are some more details to this process, especially when multiple miners find a block at approximately the same time.”
The main advantage of this is that being a mining-based network, this approach eliminates the possibility of 51 percent attacks as seen with the Bitcoin cash network.
There have been instances in the past when selfish activities have been observed in miners such as secretly mining another chain and reorganization of chains to gain undue advantage will also be eliminated.
In the blog post, the developer wrote,
“It removes all incentives for miners to cause chain reorganizations. Many attacks based on secret or selfish mining become impossible as they all depend on miners withholding longer and secret chains. Under the current consensus rules, such chains would override the publicly known chain and cause a chain reorganization when published. With ChainLocks however, miners are incentivized to publish every block immediately, even if they in theory have enough hash power to overrule every other miner. Failure to publish creates substantial risks for a malicious miner since any secret chain (even if thousands of blocks longer) would be immediately invalidated if another honest miner publishes a valid block that receives a CLSIG before the secret chain is revealed.”
The new protocol will give consumers the confidence that the transaction is safe and with a single confirmation be rest assured that their transactions were successful. It maintained that situations whereby transactions have been known to disappear from the chain since reorganization will no longer occur.
In essence, the Dash network which ordinarily requires 5-6 confirmations before exchanges are confident the transaction has been approved by the network will no longer need that many confirmations to be trusted by users.
The post encouraged those that would like to know more about the ChainLock to study the network’s DIP 8 specifications.
ChainLocks not possible on most cryptocurrencies
The release further stated that ChainLock implementation is not possible with every digital currency. The implementation with Dash is possible because of the Dash masternode network. Since nodes on most chains are vulnerable to Sybil attacks, ChainLock cannot be implemented in most cryptocurrencies. This is so because attackers are capable of spinning thousands of nodes in a short time with ease.
“One of the main prerequisites required to make ChainLocks secure is a Sybil protected network of semi-trusted nodes. A coin that does not offer such a class of nodes will not be able to implement something like ChainLocks in a secure manner. In Bitcoin for example, anything that would rely on “votes” of individual nodes can be gamed by simply starting up thousands of malicious nodes.”
The Dash network running masternodes helps prevent Sybil attacks. To run these masternodes, there is a requirement that 1000 DASH be held as collateral to ensure that there is a stake in protecting the network.
This ensure that it doesn’t make sense to the masternode to perform a Sybil attack since doing this will require substantial investment making it economically unreasonable to perform such attacks.
“With the current parameters that we target for LLMQs, an attacker would have to buy at least 60% of all Masternodes to get a realistic chance of success.”
Dash has been adding a number of interesting features to its network. These are instant transactions, advanced privacy and governance. With the ChainLock, the network is proving that it is among the innovative in the industry.
Overhaul to increase security and efficiency for the same cost, half the energy consumption
ChainLock enhances security and reduces risks of disruptions and malicious activites by miners. It also improves security and efficiency of Dash’s proof-of-work system.
One of the comments on the project by 1Bet1Beer said that Dash’s block reward split allows its security model to operate on significantly reduced hashrate, and therefore energy consumption, compared to other networks:
“Personally one thing I was worried about is the fact that mining rewards will be lowered over time, due to the fact of lower block rewards and at the same time the aim is to keep transaction costs as low as possible as well, this would result in much lower hashrates, which in turn would make it that much more likely that some could attempt attacks as you have described. But now that is not longer possible, much lower mining rewards doesn’t mean higher risks, and the same time it will substantially decrease energy costs as well ! In other words there will be no need to keep transaction cost artificially high to protect against attacks. POW just got a [whole] lot greener from my point of view.”
There is greater security in the network as a result of the block reward split. This is far more than obtainable in other proof-of-work networks.
The Dash news that the network is making progress has not made much impact on its market price as the coin is trading at $91.75 as the coin market continues to struggle.