Ripple CTO David Schwartz says he believes Bitcoin is far more vulnerable to attack than XRP.
Schwartz issued a fiery response to a Tweet from Unhashed podcast co-host Ruben Somsen, who questioned whether the XRP Ledger can be exploited due to a mechanism that requires nodes to skip validation if they’re too far behind.
Oh wow didn't know that. This seems very dangerous. Couldn't validators just collude to create more blocks and push them onto the network at once, effectively instantiating a new state?
— Udi Wertheimer (@udiWertheimer) March 7, 2019
Schwartz says such attacks on XRP can be “mitigated in software” and are minuscule compared to Bitcoin’s vulnerabilities, calling Bitcoin’s consensus mechanism a “dead end.”
“No blockchain that I know of has better protection against a hostile majority attack than the XRP Ledger does. Bitcoin will happily allow double spends if the majority of mining power is in hostile hands…
PoW has been a dead end for both decentralization and security, It’s gotten more centralized, and we’ve seen 51% double spend attacks. By contrast, distributed agreement has gotten more decentralized, and it’s clear how to mitigate these attacks in software.”
PoW has been a dead end for both decentralization and security, It's gotten more centralized and we've seen 51% double spend attacks. By contrast, distributed agreement has gotten more decentralized and it's clear how to mitigate these attacks in software. 2/3
— David Schwartz (@JoelKatz) March 8, 2019
A 51% attack is when a miner or mining pool takes control by gaining more than 50% of the network hash rate in order to commit the ultimate crypto crime: rewrite the ledger and double spend prior transactions.
This year Ethereum Classic was hit with one such attack, raising questions about Bitcoin’s current level of security.
According to Crypto51, it would be extremely expensive to gather enough resources to attack the Bitcoin network, requiring $292,255 an hour.
News outlets and individuals have long declared the death of Bitcoin, but so far the network has been up and running for more than a decade, and continues to attract software engineers who are launching scaling solutions, such as the Lightning Network.