CoinWallet, a London, U.K.-based bitcoin wallet, says it will conduct a stress test of the bitcoin network in early September that will render most bitcoin wallet software worthless and create a “nearly 30-day backlog,” according to the International Business Times. They plan to accomplish this by flooding bitcoin wallets with small amounts of bitcoin.
CoinWallet’s purpose is to convince developers and miners to implement a hard fork. The upcoming stress test is not CoinWallet’s first such attempt to make the case for increasing the block size.
“As part of this test, I will be reconsolidating more than 150 Bitcoin that currently sits in these wallets,” an unnamed spokesperson told the International Business Times via email.
CoinWallet said it will use 20 cloud-hosted servers to send bitcoin payments in amounts of 0.00001 to thousands of its addresses at random in transactions that are approximately 3kb each.
These 20 servers push approximately one transaction per second. The plan is to fill them up to 50-100 Bitcoin in total. In theory, if all things go as planned, we will create a nearly 30-day backlog.
Wallets that increase their transaction fees will be able to push transactions through, the spokesperson said. But this will be prohibitively expensive, and it will likely render most standard wallet software worthless, including Multibit, Mycellium, and Blockchain.info.
CoinWallet said its wallet is more immune to this type of’ attack since its fees are dynamic and set at three times the standard limit.
As always, CoinWallet clients will be unaffected by the test. More details will be posted publicly when the test is imminent.
The CoinWallet spokesperson said bitcoin core developers Gavin Andresen and Mike Hearn’s efforts to increase the block size through the recently-announced Bitcoin XT have not worked. Bitcoin XT allows miners to opt out of the current maximum 1MB block size. The majority of miners must adopt the protocol upgrade for this to happen. “The fact that the XT fork hasn’t occurred yet is ridiculous,” the spokesperson said.
The Wall Street Journal reported on June 30, 2015 that CoinWallet said it would create a 200-megabyte block chain backlog by flooding the system with small transactions, then send slightly larger transactions.
“We feel that our tests might prove to be the catalyst that propels the core devs and miners to implement the required hard fork that is desperately needed,” CoinWallet told The Wall Street Journal.
The Wall Street Journal noted that a CoinWallet stress test on June 23 failed.
CoinWallet explained its rationale for its stress test in a Reddit posting:
Bitcoin is at a breaking point, yet the core developers are too wound up in petty arguments to create the required modifications for long-term sustainability. If nothing is done, Bitcoin will never be anything more than a costly science project. By stress testing the system, we hope to make a clear case for the increased block size by demonstrating the simplicity of a large scale spam attack on the network.
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