Waltonchain (WTC) Price Pumps 41% After Strange 99.99% Mainnet Attack


Waltonchain (WTC) felt a favourable bounce on Tuesday afternoon just days after suffering a major attack on its yet unreleased mainnet.

Although an Ethereum-based ERC-20 token, mining has been taking place on the yet unreleased Waltonchain mainnet. Any coins stolen by the hacker during the attack would have held no value, since they aren’t yet tradeable on exchanges – leaving the motive unclear.

Waltonchain Hardforks to Save Mainnet

Whereas a 51% attack demands a miner acquire just a slight majority of mining power to control the network, the Waltonchain attack went the whole way. Well, almost – at 99.99% of the mining power, the attacker had complete control of the blockchain for a brief period. Before the WTC team hardforked to save the network, the attacker held 102,713,597,453 MH/s of the hashrate. That’s the equivalent of around 288 million ASIC mining machines.

As the team announced on its blog shortly after the attack:

“Earlier today the Waltonchain Mainnet suffered a coordinated attack. Not only on our Mainnet, but also within the cryptocurrency community where disinformation and malicious rumors were spread.”

The truth is the would-be hacker did not have the power of 288 million ASICs behind them, but rather exploited a bug in the Waltonchain code that increased their perceived reputation on the network.

“An exploit in our code allowed an attacker to increase his coinage score and mine many blocks concurrently from blockheight 175,368. The attacker(s) planned this carefully…”

Very carefully. The attack is all the more confusing given that just weeks ago, the mainnet was audited by a noted security firm – which gave Walton the all clear.

Suspicion, Accusations, Motive…

Many in the Walton community and beyond were typically incensed by the attack, and saw it as further confirmation of WTC’s status as a prime ‘shitcoin’.

Others on forums and social media channels were less dramatic, and predicted exchanges would simply freeze deposits/withdrawals for safety while the hardfork took place. Despite the furore surrounding the whole ordeal, the optimists somehow turned out correct, and WTC did not experience the drop in value many predicted.

The hardfork was initiated quickly to take back power from the hacker, but the motive is still unclear. From a bemused social media commenter:

“The WTC tokens are still on ethereum. The ‘mainnet’ which has been hacked has no value apart from miner payout (which are essentially IOUs since they can’t trade them). Which makes this attack really weird since the attacker can’t extract value out of the network.”

As for the Walton team, they say they knew about the attack since a week prior. The recent attack was essentially a last-minute effort, mere hours before the hardfork was done to fix it.

Waltonchain Price – WTC/USD

Despite recent controversies, the value of WTC miraculously gained 41.9% on Tuesday. That saw the WTC price move from $1.36 to $1.93.

On Tuesday, a reward system was launched for miners on the aforementioned mainnet. As per this tweet, miners are to be given 1 ERC-20 WTC token for every WTC coin they mine on the mainnet. Would this mixture of enticement and apology be enough to trigger a 41% pump?

Given that market fundamentals haven’t changed from a week ago when cryptos were priced at yearly highs, the latest correction is likely technical in nature.

Disclaimer: The author owns Bitcoin, Ethereum and other cryptocurrencies. He holds investment positions in the coins, but does not engage in short-term or day-trading.

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock. Chart via CoinMarketCap. 

Greg Thomson is a freelance writer who contributes to leading cryptocurrency and blockchain publications like CCN, Hacked, and others.