Vitalik Buterin Calls for Automated 51% Attack Responses on Ethereum

Vitalik Buterin Ethereum
Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin is calling for the Ethereum network to better prepare for potential censorship scenarios arising from a 51% attack.

During his keynote speech at ETHCC in Brussels, Vitalik Buterin stated, “This is what I’m advocating for more research and development on.”

A 51% attack occurs when a malicious actor, or a group of actors, controls more than half of the Ethereum network’s block production, potentially leading to censorship. Buterin emphasized that one of the main concerns with such an attack is the risk of network censorship.

As a potential countermeasure, Vitalik Buterin suggested that honest validators could migrate to a different chain fork. Currently, this strategy relies heavily on social consensus, where community members must collectively agree on the fork to follow.

However, Vitalik Buterin believes the network should be better prepared for this response. He proposed that the response to a 51% attack should be largely automated and pre-planned.

“We want to make the response to 51% attacks as automated as possible. If you are a validator, your node should run software that detects censorship of transactions or validators and automatically counter-censors the majority chain. This way, all honest nodes will coordinate on the same minority chain through automated processes,” Buterin explained.

Vitalik Buterin acknowledged that achieving 100% network automation in such scenarios is unrealistic due to various limitations. However, he stressed that the closer the network can get to this level of automation, the less effort will be required from social consensus.

He also emphasized the need for the technological layer to present a clear leading candidate for a soft fork, which the community can unite around if necessary to escape a censoring chain.

Buterin further advocated for the widespread adoption of light clients across Ethereum’s infrastructure, particularly in wallets. These light clients should also support the verification of zk-EVMs, enhancing support for Layer 2 networks.

Addressing the issue of quantum resistance, Buterin noted that while it remains a concern for the Ethereum blockchain, the network has solutions for the four vulnerable elements: Merkle trees, consensus signatures, blobs, and user accounts.

Finally, Buterin called for further simplification of the protocol to make it more accessible for developers and users.

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