Blockchain security researcher and developer Antoine Riard has announced his departure from the Blockchain. Riard cited security concerns and fundamental challenges to the Bitcoin ecosystem as the reasons for his decision. According to a headline shared by the Linux Foundation, Riard believes that the Bitcoin community is facing a difficult dilemma. According to the expert, a new attack method is putting the Lightning Network in a dangerous position.
The Lightning Network is a Layer-2 solution project built on the Bitcoin blockchain network. It is designed to enhance the scalability and efficiency of Bitcoin network transactions by enabling off-chain and peer-to-peer transactions.
Through the Lightning Network, users can open payment channels, conduct multiple transactions off-chain, and settle transaction outcomes on the Bitcoin blockchain network. However, the project has recently been targeted with an attack method called the “breach cycle.” This method allows attackers to steal funds from a channel participant by exploiting inconsistencies between individual mempools:
“I think this new breach cycle attack class puts the Lightning Network in a very dangerous position; here only sustainable fixes can be made at the base layer. For example, a memory-intensive history of all witnessed transactions or some consensus upgrades could be added. Deployed mitigations hold value against simple attacks, but I don’t think they stop advanced attackers, as stated in the disclosure.”
Riard also noted that addressing the new type of attack may require changes in the underlying Bitcoin network:
“These types of changes are changes that require the highest level of transparency and participation from the community as a whole, as we are changing the full data processing requirements or the security architecture of the decentralized Bitcoin ecosystem in its entirety.”
Lightning Network developers are facing many challenges, including criticism of the complexity of the network and the proposals made for user experience. According to DefiLlama’s data, the Layer-2 network has gained popularity since its inception in 2018 and has reached a total value of $159.5 million so far. However, this figure remains modest compared to Bitcoin’s market value of $587 billion.