Crypto leaders back MIT’s four-year initiative to harden Bitcoin’s security

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The Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Digital Currency Initiative has published a new “Bitcoin Software and Security Effort” aimed at promoting research into strengthening the defenses of the Bitcoin network.

The open source initiative was supported by a diverse group of leaders in the crypto industry, including Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss of Gemini, Michael Saylor, CEO of MicroStrategy, Jack Dorsey, CEO of Square, and CoinShares, the great European digital asset manager.

In a blog post showcasing the project, DCI said Bitcoin is moving from an “obscure cryptographic toy” to a robust network that “secures on the order of $ 1” [trillion] of value ”was due to the millions of hours open source developers invested in building the project.

Coinshares announced a $ 500,000 donation to the project, and managing director Jean-Marie Mognetti hinted that other crypto companies may want to do the same:

“Benefiting from the work of hundreds of developers securing, updating, and maintaining the open source protocols that underlie the Bitcoin network and the applications that support it, we believe that for-profit companies in the digital asset industry are one have an obligation to fund independent, neutral development efforts and research that promote the mutual interest of all ecosystem participants. “

The DCI’s four-year research and development program aims to “strengthen the Bitcoin network and promote industry commitment to open source software funding”.

The blog post states: “The goal of DCI’s new program is to bring neutral expert resources to improve the robustness of the Bitcoin protocol. Bitcoin’s security is fundamental to the advancement of the underlying technology as well as the full implementation of the charitable promises of digital currencies. ”

The post listed some key topics that MIT is researching, including helping a high-level team of Bitcoin developers, researching new programming languages, and doing preventative research against possible attacks.

MIT also stressed the need for the security of the network to grow and be strengthened as it becomes more widely accepted, highlighting the challenge associated with coordinating a decentralized network:

“In contrast to conventional assets, Bitcoin is software that runs in a decentralized network. Bitcoin’s security relies on the accuracy and robustness of the software and hardware it runs on, as well as the actions of those involved in the network. “

In July 2020, DCI researcher James Lovejoy warned that 51% attacks – attempts to capture a majority of the nodes and thus gain control of the Bitcoin network – could be more plausible than previously thought.

Stressing the need for active blockchain monitoring to identify 51% of attacks targeting blockchains for evidence of work, Lovejoy stated, “You need an active observer to monitor the network to see if an attack is occurring or not.”

“Until now, we had to rely on the victims to tell us whether they were attacked. As you can imagine, if it results in bankruptcy or loss of user funds, victims are often not particularly keen to uncover when an attack has occurred, ”he added.