Dash’s highly-anticipated “anti-51 percent attack” network upgrade has finally been completed, marking “one of the most important updates” in the blockchain’s five-year history, according to an emailed statement from the Dash Core Group.
The company behind the Dash cryptocurrency announced today that the Dash Core v0.14.0 software upgrade has officially gone live on its mainnet. The upgrade aims to solve the nightmare of 51 percent attacks while also providing near-instant transaction times, as Dash Core Group COO Robert Wicko previously explained in an interview with Decrypt.
While it is incredibly rare, a 51 percent attack is a dangerous occurrence. Mostly, it happens when a single party obtains over half of the total mining power on a cryptocurrency network. Using the computing power under his control, the attacker can easily manipulate the ledger, and steal the tokens.
If successful, Dash’s upgrade would make it the first proof-of-work blockchain impervious to such attacks.
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The key to achieving this, according to the company’s statement, is the implementation of two new features: Long Living Masternode Quorums (LLMQs) and ChainLocks. When used in combination, these features prevent chain reorganization and selfish mining, ensuring that nobody can rewrite the Dash blockchain unless they can control a certain number of masternodes.
By creating groups of masternodes that are responsible for batches of new transactions, the blockchain is no longer reliant on miners to record transactions. And as long as the attackers aren’t controlling the masternodes, they will be unable to control the Dash blockchain.
The LLMQs will be a set of 240 elected masternodes who would be in charge of monitoring and verifying transactions on the blockchain. This takes the stress off individual nodes and speeds up the confirmation process.
Dash’s masternodes are quite different from its miners in terms of what they do on the network. “Miners have different roles in the Dash ecosystem,” Wiecko told Decrypt last month. “With Dash, miners are to secure the blockchain and provide hashing power. Masternodes are to provide additional functionalities and governance services.”
Chained InstantSend is another feature that comes with V.14, an upgrade to Dash’s InstantSend function. Before the upgrade, users who received Dash would have to wait for at least six block confirmations before they could spend the digital currency, which would amount to roughly 20 minutes, on average. The new feature eliminates the waiting time, ensuring users can send, receive, and spend Dash instantly.
Ryan Taylor, CEO of Dash Core Group, called the upgrade a “major moment” for Dash:
“In addition to bolstering our network security via ChainLocks—making our network the first Proof of Work blockchain to essentially eliminate the threat of a 51% attack—the official introduction of LLMQs opens up a whole new world of potential use cases for Dash beyond payments.”