The ETC network has been ensnared in a proposed algorithm shift to boost its security. The network has been quite vulnerable to 51% attacks in the past, and hence, to augment its security, ECIP 1049 proposal commended switching to SHA 3 (Secure Hash Algorithm 3) to “greatly reduce the chances of bad actors attacking the network.” Evidently, investors’ confidence in ETC was dented when the network witnessed subsequent successful attacks in August last year.
As a matter of fact, ETC has carried forward ETC’s PoW legacy, and the same did not benefit the network greatly. The nature of PoW and the “need” to create a “secure” system that could continually reach consensus were the main reasons to enforce the SHA 3 Classic Coalition. As far its progress is concerned, Alex Tsankov, who is leading the coalition, asserted,
“Basically, we’re done with the code. The code for SHA 3 exists. It has been working in testnet and we’re just at the stage of building community consensus.”
Tsankov further asserted that the same was going on “fantastically well ” on the testnet. With respect to the timeline and the actual implementation, he added,
“I believe that in the next year, at the latest, the switchover will occur.”
According to Tsankov, SHA 3 could possibly be “one of the biggest” changes that can happen with Ethereum Classic. ECIP 1049 would pave the way for an improved and secure ecosystem. Fundamentally, the network’s hash rate would also increase and the pool of mining hardware would get diversified too. He added,
“In my opinion, it is the only change that needs to happen to ETC for it to become a system that’s potentially even bigger than Bitcoin or Ethereum.”
Interestingly, BitInfoCharts’s data pointed out that the hash rate of ETC doubled from 12 tertahash per second (in the end of April) to 24.7 tertahash per second at the time of writing. Further endorsing the “superiority” of the algorithm, Tsankov added,
“There are no hashing algorithms that are better than SHA 3. So, the idea is if ETC is to stay as PoW, which it is, then the highest performance best algorithm that we can possibly do is SHA 3.”
Tsankov further advocated that with the implementation of SHA 3, the 51% attacks “will not happen again.” As a matter of fact, the initial attacks were “very easy” to carry out only because the ETH miners used the same algorithm to switch over and attack the ETC network, but now, when the algorithm changes, the switchover will not happen that easily.
“For ETC to really succeed, we got to have our own algorithm that is separate from ETH.”
With respect to the deployment of additional smart contracts on ETC’s network, Tsankov said,
“Basically, ETC just needs more wallets to support it. My theory has always been that if ETC gets the same level of wallet support that ETH would, I think many many more people would use ETC.”
Interestingly, at the time of writing, ETH had a total of 745.38k active addresses while the same for ETC was merely 35.94k. The stark difference is well evidenced by the chart above, and it is definitely going to take time for the gap to narrow down. Nevertheless, an exponential uptick in the same can be anticipated when the actual update takes place.
At press time, ETC was trading at $57.56, while ETH was trading at $2,522.15.