In what appeared to be a coordinated attack just before the much anticipated Devcon2 conference in Shanghai, many nodes on the network of the Ethereum blockchain are crashing. This is just the latest in a string of issues that have plagued the smart contract platform over the past few months. Still, the price of its native cryptocurrency, ether (ETH), has remained relatively strong, pushing up against $13.50.

Coordinated Attack

According to media outlet Bitcoinist.net, Ethereum developer and co-founder Jeffrey Wilcke posted a Security Alert on the official Ethereum blog on 18 September. Geth nodes, he said, were “running out of memory and crashing on block 2283416“. Geth is the popular command line version used in order to run a full Ethereum node on one's computer. A node is responsible for relaying transactions as well as "mining" blocks in order to confirm and validate new transactions and add them to the blockchain. In return, miners anticipate receiving newly minted "coins." (For more, see: How to Mine Ethereum on Your Computer)

Some have speculated that the attack is meant to disrupt Ethereum ahead of Devcon2, being held now in China, and which is a major Ethereum development conference. Others believe it may be directly related to TheDAO heist, where a hacker stole tens of millions of dollars worth of digital currency, only to have Ethereum hard-fork and reverse those nefarious transactions. The hard-fork resulted in a parallel version of the Ethereum blockchain, known as Ethereum Classic (ETC), where the hack was never reversed. Perhaps it was supporters of Ethereum Classic trying to make a statement.  So far, however, the true motive behind this attack remains to be seen. (See also: DAO Hacker Donates Stolen Funds to Ethereum Classic Dev Team)

The Bottom Line

In the latest of a string of attacks against Ethereum, all nodes running the Geth software were forced to crash. The attack occurred as Devcon2, a major Ethereum industry conference, was getting underway. Whether or not this had anything to do with TheDAO hack or Ethereum Classic is unknown, however the price of Ether has remained resilient despite this latest glitch.

Want to learn how to invest?

Get a free 10 week email series that will teach you how to start investing.

Delivered twice a week, straight to your inbox.