Ethereum Classic’s hashrate has dropped precipitously since January and continues to decline after two successful 51% attacks on the network earlier in August. In light of the vulnerability, Ethereum Classic Labs, self-described as “stewards” of the blockchain, detailed a plan to protect and revitalize the fledgling network in a blog post published Wednesday.

  • Ethereum Classic’s current hashrate of roughly 3.2 terahash per second is down 74% from Jan. 1 and down 84% from its all-time high of 20.4 terahash per second set in late January, according to Coin Metrics. The downward trend continued after back-to-back 51% attacks during the first week in August.
  • The first attack occurring on Aug. 1 was mistakenly dismissed as a miner software malfunction. Five days later, another 51% attack was launched. Both attacks reorganized more than 3,000 blocks on the Ethereum Classic chain.
  • As part of its “immediate attack prevention” measures, ETC Labs plans to implement a “defensive mining” strategy “through cooperation with miners and mining pools,” according to the post, with one of the stated goals being to “maintain a more consistent hash rate.”
  • “We are determined to protect the integrity of the ecosystem,” the post read.
  • CoinDesk was unable to learn details about the so-called defensive mining. “The details about the defensive mining strategy are confidential for now,” said Terry Culver, CEO of Ethereum Classic Labs, in an email correspondence.
Ethereum Classic hashrate since January 2018
Source: Coin Metrics, CoinDesk Research
  • Regardless of how the defensive mining is implemented, however, protecting the Ethereum Classic ecosystem appears to be an uphill battle after the Coinbase exchange extended ethereum classic (ETC) confirmation times to roughly two weeks after the attacks and OKEx publicly said it will consider delisting the cryptocurrency.
  • In addition, the defensive mining strategy will almost certainly be forced to compete against ether (ETH) mining profitability, said Thomas Heller, previously director at leading cryptocurrency mining company F2Pool. 
  • “Profitability is the only angle miners care about,” he added, noting that whether Ethereum Classic Labs has the funds to sustain the profitability of defensive mining is an important question. Miners would simply choose to mine ether if it’s more profitable than defensive mining for ethereum classic, Heller said.
  • Since the attacks, the price of ethereum classic has barely moved, trading at $6.83 at last check, little more than 3% below its price on the day of the second attack.
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