The core developers behind bitcoin and litecoin are offering a reward of 10 BTC, plus 200.2 LTC to anyone who can solve the bug currently plaguing wallets on Mac-based systems.
The issue is linked to the database on wallet software known as the LevelDB key store. This database is used to store information related to the block chain, a ledger for virtual currencies and a standard component of natively installed Bitcoin-Qt wallets.
Hosted wallets, which are generally web-based or mobile-based and work on multiple platforms, are more user-friendly and do not suffer from this issue.
"It is interesting that with the rapid rise in [bitcoin and litecoin] price, the bounty is now worth $15k. I think the combination of this bug and the volatility in bitcoin price can have negative impact on bitcoin adoption," he said.
In detail, LevelDB is a key/value system developed by Google. It is not a relational database; rather, it has been designed as a string-keys-to-string-values database. The problem at hand is the periodic corruption of this database on Mac OS X.
It seems corruption occurs after the Bitcoin-Qt client is shut down and restarted. Reports indicate that corruption occurs in the Mac OS X 10.8.x and 10.9 versions, commonly known as 'Mountain Lion' and 'Mavericks'.
In the grand scheme of things, this is not a problem that could thwart the growing rise of these separate, but seemingly intertwined, virtual currencies. However, this could prove to be an issue for many individual users. Nandwani commented:
A cog in the the machine of these distributed monetary systems could pose a threat that should not be dismissed.
Namecoin, a competitor to bitcoin and litecoin, had a substantial security flaw that allowed people to perform a hostile takeover of its .bit domains.
There is a proposed solution to the problem, with test builds available. The problem appears to have to do with a particular process that runs, and if data is synced to disk before the operation, it addresses the issue.
The complete details of the Mac OS X bitcoin and litecoin wallet bounty are posted at the Bitcoin Talk forum.
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