ALISTAIR Milne, an employee of the Atlanta Digital Curreng Fund, had announced through his Twitter account a contest to hack a Bitcoin wallet. Only Bitcoin and Lightning Network developer John Cantrell achieved the feat. And as might be expected, very early on, Internet users began to question Bitcoin’s security system. Despite his prowess, John Cantrell claims that Bitcoin cryptocurrency is not at risk. Is he right ? Read it instead.
John Cantrell’s approach
The challenge was simple: It involved hacking a BTC address that is usually 12 digits long. At the start of the competition, the initiator had revealed 8 digits. So it was a question of finding the other 4.
At this stage, John Cantrell demonstrated that to find the other 4 words, there is a possibility of more than a billion possible mnemonics.
To test a single symbol, you must then generate a seed from the symbol and an address from the main private key. He reveals that, in this quest, his Macbook could not verify that 1250 mnemonics per second, which means it would have taken John’s Macbook over 25 years to get there.
He then had to bring in the dance, the specialized graphics pool services and the Azure cloud computing services from Microsoft, to help him in this decryption. This upgrade allowed him to make big strides in this hacking challenge. At this point, to the question of whether Bitcoin (- finally, a wallet containing BTC and of which 2/3 of the key has been disclosed – would really be at risk, the answer could have been “Yes”.
Why Bitcoin is Really No Risk
John Cantrell is, we said, a Bitcoin project developer and Lightning Network. By participating in this game, he simply wanted to make it known that the security of Bitcoin was maximum.
The initiator of the competition had indeed revealed to the participants 8 letters. This greatly facilitated things and made decryption possible. However, John Cantrell had to verify a billion seed combinations in 30 hours, and that by paying GPU work pools that were solicited. Had it not been for the discovery of 8 letters beforehand, it would have been impossible to achieve such a feat. In reality, we would have thousands of billions of combinations to make. And paying the GPUs for this hack would have been excessively expensive, if not impossible.
The Truth, John Cantrell Reveals in a tweet thread, the only condition for Bitcoin to be less secure is to share some of the information. Ultimately, it urges any user to never let a third party learn about the smallest bit of their addresses.
In the crypto-bath since 2017, both much too late but quite early from the point of view of my future grandchildren 🙂
Writer, Amateur Trader, Ethereum and NEO-compatible