Ethereum Classic price (ETC/USD): Coinbase halts ETC transaction over possible 51% attack

Written by: Michael Harris
April 10, 2020

The largest US cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase has suspended “sends and receives” Ethereum Classic (ETC) trading on its platform over suspicions that the network has suffered a 51% attack, an event where one entity controls 51% or more of a crypto network’s hash rate.

Yesterday, Coinbase published a blog post, stating: “On 1/5/2019, Coinbase detected a deep chain reorganization of the Ethereum Classic blockchain that included a double spend. In order to protect customer funds, we immediately paused interactions with the ETC blockchain.” The company initially said that, subsequent to the event, it had “detected 8 additional reorganizations that included double spends, totaling 88,500 ETC (~$460,000)”. The firm later issued update, saying that it had detected “12 additional reorganizations that included double spends, totaling 219,500 ETC (~$1.1M)”.

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Online media outlet CoinNess was the first to report the incident, which was first detected by Chinese blokchain security firm SlowMist. According to the report, a CoinNess in-house analyst detected a big spike in the hash rate of a private mining pool, which temporarily made it the largest pool on the network.

Ethereum Classic dev advisor Cody Burns told Coindesk that the incident was not a 51% attack, but a “selfish mining attack”. Still, he advised companies take steps to protect their users.

“The best course of action is for businesses and exchanges using ANY ethereum based chain is to increase the number of confirmation blocks to >400 blocks,” he told Coindesk.

In today’s trading, the Ethereum Classic stood at $5.10, as of 14:51 GMT. The digital coin has lost 1.8% of its value in the past 24 hours, according to data from digital currency tracker Coinmarketcap. It’s total market capitalisation currently stands at $547 million, which makes the coin the 18th largest digital currency on the market.