Cardano has resisted an attempt to hack the staking of ADA

Yesterday, the blockchain of Cardano was the target of a hack attempt that aimed to steal ADA deposited on the network in staking. 

The attack not only did not succeed, but it even resulted in a loss for the attacker. 

The attempt to hack the Cardano (ADA) staking

The attack was of the DDoS type, so much so that the attacker chose the name DDOSer.

A DDoS attack on a blockchain network is a type of attack that floods the blockchain with spam transactions to prevent users from accessing the network’s services. 

The attack started at block number 10,487,530.

It consisted of executing as many as 194 smart contracts of the REWARD type in each transaction, and to have it validated, 0.9 ADA (0.35$) of fee per transaction was spent.

The new blocks were being filled with many of these spam transactions, with the goal of preventing other transactions from being validated. 

It was, however, an anomalous attack, because it was carried out (and probably also designed) poorly. 

The mockery

In fact, it was discovered almost immediately, and after a few minutes, the founder of Anastasia Labs, a development company on Cardano, Philip Disarro, stated that the DDoS could be stopped immediately and simply by deleting the registration of the stake credentials used by the aggressor. 

Shortly after Disarro’s tweet, the attack stopped. 

The CEO of Anastasia Labs had also revealed that it was possible to request almost 400 ADA from the attacker, canceling the registration of their stake credentials, because on Cardano you can obtain 2 ADA per canceled stake credential, and the attacker was using 194.

Additionally, Disarro also emphasized how the Cardano network was performing as expected, without even significant slowdowns in the validation of legitimate transactions.

In fact, he described any attack on the “liveliness” of Cardano as “a total waste of funds”. 

He also explained that the idea behind this type of attack is to exploit the fact that the size of the reference scripts currently does not affect the transaction fee, but it still affects the work that the validators have to do to process the transaction. 

However, similar attacks necessarily involve indirect costs, because each script execution entails the cost of installing the CEK and requires an additional reference input that increases the transaction size.

And so not only did DDOSer fail to steal anything, but in the end, he also lost 400 ADA (155$).

Disarro then wrote that DDOSer stopped his attack after reading his tweet, and commented saying: 

“Thanks for the free money moron”.

He also added that it is truly iconic that the aggressor who wanted to damage the ecosystem ended up instead donating funds to the development work on Cardano. 

The price of ADA

Yesterday during the attack the price of the native cryptocurrency of Cardano, ADA, did not change much.

Indeed, its current value is perfectly in line with that of seven days ago, even though since then it first fell below $0.37 and then rose above $0.396. Currently, it is around $0.39, which is practically the same figure as seven days ago. 

Compared to a month ago, however, it loses 15%, or more than 11% of Bitcoin and Ethereum, but for example less than 17% of Solana.

His real problem, however, is the -34% since the beginning of the year. 

The year 2024 has been a decidedly very positive year for several cryptocurrencies, primarily for Bitcoin which has recorded new all-time highs and is currently sailing at +45% from the end of 2023. It has also been a good year for Ethereum (+48%).

Among the top 20 cryptocurrencies by market capitalization, only Polygon’s MATIC performs worse than Cardano, with -42%, while all the others are either in the positive or less negative than ADA.

Moreover, ADA is still even at -87% from the all-time highs of 2021, which is even worse than the -83% of Dogecoin. 

Suffice it to say that its current market value is even in line with that of May 2018, even though at that time it was falling. Furthermore, it is at a third of the peak of January 2018, which was over $1.1.

Practically with the bear-market of 2022/2023, it dropped to the levels of January 2021, before the second and third part of the last great bullrun, and in 2024 it did nothing but rise again only to fall back down. 

The blockchain of Cardano on a technical level seems to work well, but in the financial markets ADA is still struggling a lot. 

For example, its TVL in DeFi is only 213 million dollars, unlike for example the 690 million of Avalanche, and this reveals that there is very little financial interest towards this blockchain.