The global crypto community is in an uproar this morning. Overnight a group of hackers, who go by the name of “Gotya,” managed to hack into the main Bitcoin blockchain, making off with billions of dollars’ worth of cryptocurrency in the process.
Gotya appears to have used advanced quantum computing power to break into the blockchain network using what is known as a ‘routing attack’. In essence, the hackers managed to temporarily fork the core Bitcoin (BTC) blockchain in order to double-spend coins on the network.
In the attack, the Bitcoin blockchain was partitioned into two separate networks, thereby making both sides of the fork vulnerable to double-spending. Since neither side of the fork was able to communicate with the entire network to validate transactions during the attack, the hackers were able to transfer billions of dollars’ worth of bitcoin to private ‘burner’ crypto wallets on other networks.
Once the stolen coins were converted to other currencies and assets, the forked partition was removed, meaning the shorter side of the Bitcoin blockchain was rejected by the network as a whole, thereby wiping out the records of the fraudulent transactions.
The stolen coins and transactions are now believed to be untraceable.
On hearing the news Dr Craig S White, a leading voice in the crypto community, and one of the instigators of the legitimate August 2017 fork that saw Bitcoin Cash (BCH) break away from Bitcoin core (BTC), tweeted the following:
“I saw this sort of quantum hack coming a mile off. That’s why the Bitcoin Cash community has worked tirelessly to build double-spend fail safes into our network.”
Just seconds later, a since-deleted Twitter account, believed to belong to the Gotya hacking group tweeted a reply:
“It’s just a matter of time before we #Gotya too!”