Zencash, Now Horizen (ZEN), To Prevent 51% Blockchain Mining Attacks Via Satoshi Consensus Algorithm

Horizen [ZEN] Launches its Enhanced Satoshi Consensus Mining Algorithm

On 7th September 2018, Horizen [ZEN] formally known as Zencash, announced that they have improved the original Satoshi Consensus algorithm by creating a penalty mechanism to punish malicious miners. All these measures are to secure their network and prevent 51% attacks. Horizen stated that they hope this will be a long-term solution to protect all proof-of-work coins that use the Bitcoin consensus. They are currently in public test mode and are urging individuals to assist them in testing the code on TestNet. The code has already undergone internal testing.

Before the change to Satoshi Consensus algorithm, Horizen used the Equihash Proof of Work mining algorithm. The change was prompted by two events that occurred at nearly similar times. The first event was the double spend attack also known as 51% attack that was made against an exchange partner where criminals got away with just over 23,000 ZEN. The second event was the appearance of Equihash ASIC miners for sale to the public. These were major concerns for the Horizen team as the project is very sensitive to the concerns and desires of the community and security its key element.

Horizen’s Rationale

According to Horizen, 51% attacks have always been a serious threat to Bitcoin and other digital assets that use the Proof of Work (PoW) consensus. However, the longest chain rule, popularly known as the Satoshi Consensus, has worked well in the relatively decentralized environment of 2009. This consensus allows miners on the network to compete against one another by attempting to solve puzzles to gain the right to add to the succeeding block on the chain.

Horizen explained that as the industry matured and mining resources became more concentrated, prices to obtain hashing power dropped and this allowed malicious users to easily launch 51% attacks on many projects that use the Proof of Work algorithm.

Horizen reported that in order to battle fraud they have designed a penalty mechanism for delayed block reporting. Users who try to mine blocks in private and later inject them into the chain will be subject to the penalty. Each penalty will be based on block height. The penalization is an elegant solution designed by their very own engineering team.

The penalty measures added to the Satoshi Consensus are very necessary because if absent, opposing miners would be able to drive a complete sequence of deceitful blocks onto the blockchain leading unsuspecting users into confusion and resulting in the occurrence of a double spend attack.

Horizen was launched as Zencash on 23rd May 2017 without any pre-mining or an ICO. It rebranded in August 2018 but Horizen president, Robert Viglione stated it is more of an expansion.

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