Hackers are still one of the biggest threats to Proof-of-Work networks. In the past year, digital thieves have used rented hash power to stage successful attacks on Vertcoin, Verge , Bitcoin Gold, Ethereum Classic, and several other cryptocurrencies, most of which have never recovered.
That’s no longer a worry for the Dash network. In an update released yesterday, Dash Core Group released the binaries for Version 0.14, which will make the fourteenth-most valuable blockchain network nearly immune to double spending attacks.
The update will go into effect once 80% of the network has upgraded, within a 4032-block window. The next such window will begin this weekend.
In a blog post, Dash Core described v. 0.14 as “a major step towards making Dash the most user-friendly blockchain-based payment system in the world.”
Most blockchain networks, like Bitcoin, follow a “longest-chain” rule: if there are two competing versions of the ledger, consensus defaults to the one with the most entries. An attacker with enough mining power could create a second version of the ledger, thereby reversing transaction that have already been made.
Dash’s enhanced protection comes from the addition of ChainLocks, an additional security feature to validate events and transactions on the network. In addition to the usual requirements of Proof-of-work consensus mining, valid blocks will also require signatures from the majority of a randomly pre-selected, “Long Living Masternode Quorum.”
That means a successful double-spend attack would require not only a majority of the Dash network’s total hashing power, but also a supermajority of its 4,911 Masternodes.
With a current valuation of $150,000 each at the time of writing, a successful network would cost hundreds of millions of U.S. dollars—far more than any potential returns.
The new update also comes with other new capabilites. Another new addition is “LLMQ-based InstantSend,” allowing users to spend Dash as easily, and as quickly, as a credit card transaction.
Transaction delays were a fact of life on Proof-of-Work blockchains, in which most transactions are only considered irreversible after six blocks. For Bitcoin transactions, that meant waiting one hour before a transaction could be considered final.
Instant transactions were previously available, but the new update eliminates those delays by default. Once a valid transaction is published, it is immediately signed by a Quorum of Masternodes, thereby guaranteeing its validity until it can be included in a block.
Although Dash is not the first blockchain to launch instant transactions, it is unique in maintaining the security features of Proof-of-Work mining. “Other networks that have managed to reduce wait times have typically done so at the cost of network security by overly centralizing the authority over which transactions go through and which don’t,” wrote Dash Product Manager Elizabeth Robuck, in the blog post. “Dash, on the other hand, will provide users with the real-time payments they expect at an extremely high level of security.”
“This release has been a major moment on our calendars for quite some time,” said Ryan Taylor, CEO of Dash Core Group. “Our goal for Dash Evolution has always been for it to make Dash the most user-friendly blockchain-based payment system in the world, and the release of Version 0.14.0 is a significant leap forward in that endeavor.”