F2Pool co-founder responds to allegations it cheated Ethereum’s POW system

F2Pool co-founder Chun Wang has responded to allegations that his mining pool has been manipulating Ethereum block timestamps to “get consistently higher mining rewards.”

The allegations stem from an Aug. 5 paper by Hebrew University researchers claiming that the mining pool has been conducting “consensus-level” attacks on Ethereum for the past two years to gain an advantage over “honest” miners.

However, Wang responded on Twitter that “we respect *consensus* as is,” suggesting that deliberate exploitation of the system’s rules doesn’t necessarily mean the rules have been broken.

Earlier this week, researchers shared the first evidence of what they claim is a “consensus-level attack” on Ethereum, in which miners like F2Pool have found a way to manipulate block timestamps to consistently gain more than mining Mine Higher Mining Rewards “Honestly.”

This Research Papers Written by cryptocurrency lecturer Aviv Yaish, software algorithm developer Gilad Stern, and computer scientist Aviv Zohar, it claims that Ethereum mining pool F2Pool has been one of the miners using this timestamp manipulation strategy.

“While the blocks produced by most mining pools look relatively unremarkable, F2Pool blatantly ignores the rules and uses fake timestamps for its blocks,” Yaish said, adding that the mining pools have been enforcing it for the past two years attack.

Wang also appears to acknowledge Yaish’s evidence suggesting that timestamp manipulation was intentional.

F2Pool is a geographically distributed mining pool that mines blocks primarily on the Bitcoin, Ethereum and Litecoin networks.

How the “attack” works

According to the researchers, Ethereum’s current proof-of-work (POW) consensus law includes a vulnerability that gives miners “a certain degree of freedom” when setting timestamps, meaning that false timestamps can be created.

“For example, a miner can start mining a block now, but set the block’s timestamp to actually be 5 seconds in the past, or 10 seconds in the future. According to Ethereum’s consensus laws, as long as this timestamp is within a certain reasonable range , the block will still be considered valid.”

The ability to create these false timestamps gives these miners an advantage in a “tie” scenario, as a miner can replace another miner’s block of the same block height by making the timestamp low enough to increase the block’s mining difficulty.

related: Ethereum Merger: How Will PoS Transition Affect the ETH Ecosystem?

However, the researchers also noted that the vulnerability may be resolved after the upcoming transition of Ethereum to Proof of Stake (POS). merge On September 19th, it used a different set of consensus rules.

“The obvious mitigation technique for this attack and any other PoW-related attack is to migrate Ethereum’s consensus mechanism to proof-of-stake (PoS).”

“Other solutions that may be smaller in scope, and therefore easier to implement, are to adopt better fork-choice rules, use reliable timestamps, or avoid timestamps altogether to adjust difficulty,” the researchers added.