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BTC · 210w

Evidence found of Bitcoin spam attack that stressed network for at least 18 months

There is evidence to indicate that Bitcoin’s network has been suffering a far greater workload than needed recently, according to the developer behind the bitcoin analytics platform OXT. The French developer, Laurent, told BraveNewCoin that he is “95% confident” that the 2015 “Stress Test” and “Flood Attack” events affected the number of bitcoin transactions as recently as January 2017.

The 20-year data analysis and visualization software development veteran says that Bitcoin has become his “main activity” since he first read Satoshi’s whitepaper in 2013. He built OXT using algorithms that “extract high level information from the raw data stored in the bitcoin blockchain,” and describes the free service as far more useful than a blockchain explorer, making it more like a blockchain forensics tool, such as Skry or Coinometrics.

- Laurent

The events in 2015 began with a series of blockchain stress tests conducted by the now defunct CoinWallet.eu. The company claimed that 10’s of thousands of transactions were sent across the bitcoin blockchain on multiple occasions. “By stress testing the system, we hope to make a clear case for the increased block size by demonstrating the simplicity of a large scale spam attack on the network,” stated a company representative.

The subsequent flood attack, in July 2015, saw 80,000 transactions simultaneously sent to Bitcoin’s mempool, the notoriously-overfull queue at the heart of bitcoin’s scaling debate. The mempool is a real-time list of unconfirmed transactions. These transactions exist in the form of Unspent Transaction Outputs, or UTXOs.

Unspent transaction outputs are important because fully validating nodes use them to figure out whether or not transactions are valid. All inputs to a transaction must be in the UTXO database for it to be valid. If an input is not in the UTXO database, then either the transaction is trying to double-spend some bitcoins that were already spent or ...

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