After the 51 percent attack on Ethereum Classic (ETC) was detected earlier today, many are concerned about the future of the token. One developer has posted his thoughts on Medium, declaring that he is "still optimistic" about the 18th-largest crypto.
A 51 percent attack on a crypto network can damage its reputation, with the double spending of tokens significantly reducing people's confidence in the security of their funds. However, the attack that was executed over the last few days has barely had any impact on the ETC price since it was first detected just over 12 hours ago.
According to Donald McIntyre, in his Medium post 'Why I Am Still Optimistic About Ethereum Classic (ETC)', this may be because ETC is still seen as having some "marginal value other than its [currently low] security threshold". In other words, there are features of the network, other than how secure it is, that encourage investment and mining.
He points out that the possibility of a 51 percent attack is always an intrinsic feature of any PoW-based blockchain, and is not a weakness of ETC itself. It was more vulnerable to such an attack due to its relatively small size compared to other networks, particularly ETH, which uses the same mining algorithm. Referencing a warning from Charlie Lee, he explains that this inferior status means that miners would be able to rent ETH hardware, (from the NiceHash market, for example) to mine ETC and take over the network.
Be careful w/ coins that are not dominant in their respective mining algorithm, especially ones that are NiceHash-able. ETC has less than 5% of the total Ethash hashrate and is 98% NiceHash-able. 1-hr attack costs $5k. Almost $500k has been double spent. https://t.co/REwM2lFA9Z https://t.co/bqw54LUjke— Charlie Lee [LTC⚡] (@SatoshiLite) January 7, 2019
As ETH prepares to pivot towards a relatively untested PoS system after the upcoming Constantinople upgrade, ETC will occupy a niche as the only PoW blockchain with this unique ETH-based technology, and perhaps the most secure. This could make it even more valuable than it currently is.
As for its other advantages, McIntyre also claims that the "ETC ecosystem is still very focused on immutability as a core value, not having any formal governance mechanism", and that it "has a fixed monetary policy".
Concluding, he insists that "what happened is a significant setback, but I think ETC still has a unique positioning as a PoW + Turing-complete network with an active community with sound principles". He goes on to suggest "a mining algorithm change to put ETC in a unique, incompatible PoW niche".