VMware Researcher questions the Vulnerability of Ethereum

Nishanth Shetty

March 3, 2018 6:11 pm

VMware Researcher questions the Vulnerability of Etherum | Coindelite News
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Dahlia Malkhi claims Ethereum’s upgrade Casper as “fundamentally vulnerable.”

Questions about the fundamental vulnerability of Ethereum’s most significant future upgrade was put forward by an expert of the distributed systems and founding researcher of VMware Dahlia Malkhi on Friday, whose concern was to describe Ethereum’s Casper at the Financial Cryptography 2018 in Curacao.

In the course of the meeting, Malkhi revealed the working of blockchain after a long-studied area of computer science that embeds the operation of nodes. However, Malkhi delivered deprecatory remarks on Casper, an upgrade to the Ethereum blockchain that promises to provide a better, more straightforward algorithm.

Bitcoin uses the proof-of-work system where miners spend real electricity and resources to verify transactions, proof-of-stake offers a kind of virtual mining, where coins are secured, and computations are then performed.

Malkhi told the audience:

“I think proof-of-stake is fundamentally vulnerable. You’re giving authority to a group to call the shots […] In my opinion; it’s giving power to people who have lots of money.”

Anyhow, she also made a positive remark stating that Casper has led to impressive research that boosts the growing interest and discovery in the field of distributed systems.

Malkhi has been studying distributed systems since years, and her primary concerns include safety and liveliness of the technology. These attributes help the system with proper and smooth transactions.

“I had a conversation with [ethereum’s Casper lead author] Vlad Zamfir yesterday,” Malkhi said. “He argues, isn’t it still useful if it’s ‘mostly’ live?”

Malkhi’s answer would be a “no” due to the vulnerabilities involved with Casper as she pointed it out.

“We have several decades of experience here,” she said.

Her concern emphasizes the fact that enough traditional academic rigor has not been applied to the idea.“Seriously, it’s effortless to come up with a solution which is not live. It’s trivial. The only thing we need to do in this field is generated mechanisms that are both safe and live,” she said.

However, it is not that Malkhi is not excited about Cryptocurrency and the new research involved with it. In one of her previous talks, she accepted that Bitcoin helps solve a significant problem in distributed systems- the Byzantine Generals Problem – an insight she attributes to notable investors like Marc Andreessen.

She concluded:

“The problem is not solved. Yes, we have solid foundations, but these foundations break in surprising ways especially when you try to break them and innovate.”