Spam has been targeted at the privacy-focused proof-of-work blockchain Zcash.
According to analysts, the blockchain has handled a sizable number of transactions intended to disrupt the network. The attacker achieved this by abusing Zcash’s “shielded transactions,” which were designed for anonymity.
Hundreds of output values have been added by the attacker in these shielded transactions, which are proving to be quite data-intensive. According to data from Blockchair, as a result, the blockchain size has significantly increased, increasing from 31 GB in mid-June to more than 100 GB at this time.
The circumstances are putting a lot of strain on the network. Zcash has not experienced any downtime, however the fast expanding size of the blockchain has caused issues with nodes’ capacity to sync with the network. On-chain records show that even though the issue has been for a while, it has only just come to the public’s attention.
Zcash doesn’t have spam prevention systems in place
A transactor pays a small fee of 0.0001 ZEC (worth a few cents) for shielded transactions with hundreds of output values, Zcash’s block explorer shows.
“It’s sad to see. There was always a risk of DoS given ZC’s deliberate lack of a fee market,” security researcher Ian Miers, who has previously worked at Zcash, noted in a tweet Wednesday. “The proofs are much larger and slower to verify, making the attack worse.”
Although the reason for this attack is unknown, various theories have been put forth by industry experts.
Convex Labs’ chief of research Nick Bax hypothesized that someone may be looking to benefit by disrupting the network. He also said that the spam campaign may be an effort to “make it tougher for people to host nodes,” as doing so may enable them to monitor users’ blockchain activity.
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