Cryptocurrency tech is vulnerable to tampering, a DARPA analysis finds
Whether prices are up or down, for many investors in cryptocurrency, the real appeal is that there’s nobody in charge. As the crowd chanted at the recent Bitcoin 2022 conference in Miami, it’s all about “Freedom!” By design, the system is meant to be from interference by banks, companies and governments. But a new report finds that the decentralized system might not be working as well as many crypto enthusiasts assume. The report was commissioned by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or DARPA, and the work was done by the software security research company Trail of Bits. Trail of Bits CEO Dan Guido says blockchain — the public ledgers that keep track of cryptocurrencies, which are replicated on computers around the world — isn’t the egalitarian tech its advocates claim. “It’s been taken for granted that the blockchain is immutable and decentralized, because the community says so,” says Guido. But in practice, he says, these networks have evolved in ways that concentrate power in the hands of certain people or companies, including the large pools of “miners” whose computers earn virtual currency by maintaining the blockchains.