How a hacker failed to hack Einsteinium

Einsteinium is the cryptocurrency which carries the abbreviation EMC2 associated with the Einstein's special relativity mass and energy equation. The cryptocurrency or blockchain project, which was founded in 2014 and is run by a charity funds hub known as Einsteinium Foundation, has been developed to aid various scientific, technological, and philanthropic projects.

The project is basically a crowdfunding platform for these projects where the projects with the intention of helping humanity as a whole, can raise funds and run their operations. To receive funding, a project is selected based on the time it takes for miners to mine 36,000 blocks on Einsteinium’s public ledger -- known as epoch. Therefore, the intention is to aid scientific innovation and development.

The platform issues users with a web wallet that can store various digital assets and it also has invoice issuance feature. The invoices let customers to request payments without worrying about their client's geographical distance. There is also a mobile currency holder called the EMC2 wallet that lets users to access funds remotely with a smartphone.

The cryptocurrency also has a social media platform with an in-built messenger and data sharing features and users can even give to each other native token currencies as gifts redeemable for gifts as well as online services. The platform is also planning a debit card to hold EMC2 tokens and 4YOUEMC2 marketplace.

Promise of an attack on 15th October

Small-cap coins are usually targeted with 51% attacks where an attacker (or a group) overtakes more than half of mining hashrate of the cryptocurrency network for malicious intent. The attack makes it possible for attackers to interfere with the process of recording new blocks and they could also monopolize the mining of blocks to earn all the rewards and prevent other miners from completing blocks. For instance, this would prevent new transactions from getting confirmed and thus they can halt payments between some or all users. The attacker is also able to reverse transactions that were previously completed while controlling the network -- which means they are able to double-spend coins.

Einsteinium had a low hashrate hence a very probable target. Geocold51, who terms himself as specializing in demonstrating 51 percent attacks against cryptocurrencies decided to focus on Einsteinium and although most of the attacks are performed anonymously, he said on October 7 that he would livestream the attack on Twitch on October 14.

He said he was not hoping to attack any exchange but he would fork the blockchain and transactions would be exclusively to his own wallets.

Einsteinium then increased hashrate

Hashrate was the main focus for the hack and Einsteinium trippled their hasrate from around 140 GH/s to 1.4 Terahash/second by renting more and pointing it to their network to make it hard for the hack to happen. This was just a temporary initiative according to Einsteinium's hashrate chart and graph.

However, he also appears to have abandoned the plan to focus on Bitcoin Private but failed by saying that he "got ~70% of BTCP's network" and was "about to fork it" but did (couldn't). He said that he "elected not to" in order to "save it for a future stream" although he had a longer blockchain and was ready to go.

Frustrations started early

On October 13, Twitch suspended his account where he had hoped to stream the attack live and he posted a message from them on his Twitter. From the post it appears someone reported the planned live stream as a spam. The message said that Twitch issued "a Community Guidelines strike" and temporary suspension on his account for 14 days based on review of community reports with reason of "attempts or threats to harm"

He said on Twitter he got banned from two streaming platforms "fairly quickly" and was looking for platforms where he would be assured that report spamming does not work.

He said he would stream live again the attack if he got such a platform and if not he would do "a surprise stream" or "just post a video." He hasn't.

The Reddit user, who previously wanted to hack Bitcoin testnet with fail, has received donations from people willing to fund these particular attacks.

David Kariuki

David Kariuki likes to regard himself as a freelance tech journalist who has written and writes widely about a variety of tech issues that affect our society daily, including cryptocurrencies (see cryptomorrow.com and coinpedia.org); climate change (cleanleap.com), OpenSim and virtual reality (see hypergridbusiness.com). He is currently pursuing a MSc in Environmental Management at Open University. He does write here not to offer any investment advise but with the intention of informing audience, and articles in here are of his own opinion. Anyone willing to use any opinion here as advise to invest in crypto should obviously take own responsibility and accountability of their losses (or benefits) thereof. You can reach me at eqariu@gmail.com or david@cryptomorrow.com