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F2Pool co-founder responds to allegations it’s cheating the Ethereum POW system

F2Pool co-founder Chun Wang has responded to allegations that his mining pool manipulates the timestamps of Ethereum blocks to “consistently earn higher mining rewards.”

The claim comes from an Aug. 5 paper by researchers at Hebrew University, in which mining pools have launched “consensus-level” attacks against Ethereum over the past two years to gain an edge over “honest” miners. claiming to stand

However, Wang replied on Twitter that “we respect the *consensus* as it is”, implying that intentional abuse of the system’s rules does not necessarily mean that the rules have been broken.

Earlier this week, researchers shared what they claimed was the first evidence of a “consensus-level attack” against Ethereum, where miners such as F2Pool manipulated block timestamps to compare them to mining. We have discovered a way to consistently get higher mining rewards. true intentions. “

of research paper Ethereum mining pool F2Pool claims to be one of the miners using this timestamp manipulation strategy by cryptocurrency lecturer Aviv Yaish, software algorithm developer Gilad Stern, and computer scientist Aviv Zohar. was written.

“Most mining pools generate relatively inconspicuous-looking blocks, but F2Pool blatantly ignores the rules and uses fake timestamps on its blocks,” Yaish said, adding that mining pools added that it has been conducting attacks over the past two years.

Wang also seems to acknowledge the evidence presented by Yaish suggesting that the timestamp manipulation was intentional.

F2Pool is a geographically distributed mining pool that primarily mines blocks on the Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Litecoin networks.

Mechanism of “Attack”

According to the researchers, Ethereum’s current Proof of Work (POW) consensus mechanism contains a vulnerability that gives miners “some degree of freedom” when setting timestamps. This means you can create fake timestamps.

“For example, a miner can start mining a block now, but actually set the block timestamp to 5 seconds in the past or 10 seconds in the future. As long as this timestamp is within a certain reasonable range, Ethereum Blocks are considered valid according to the consensus law of

The ability to create these fake timestamps allows a miner to replace another miner’s block with the same block height by increasing the mining difficulty of the block with a sufficiently low timestamp. It gives miners an edge in “tie-breaking” scenarios.

Related: Ethereum Merge: How will the PoS migration affect the ETH ecosystem?

However, this vulnerability may be resolved after the upcoming Ethereum transition to Proof of Stake (POS). merge On September 19th, this will utilize a different set of consensus rules.

“An obvious mitigation technique that solves both this attack and other PoW-related attacks is to move Ethereum’s consensus mechanism to Proof of Stake (PoS).”

“Other solutions that are narrower in scope and easier to implement are adopting better fork selection rules, using reliable timestamps, or not using timestamps for difficulty adjustment.” The researcher added