Category Archives: Bitcoin Core 0.16.3

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Bug Fixed in Bitcoin Core 0.16.3 Was Much Worse Than Previously Disclosed, Could Have Inflated Bitcoin Supply

BitcoinNews.com recently reported on a bug fixed in the new version of Bitcoin Core 0.16.3.  But apparently, Bitcoin developers decided not to release full information about the bug at that point as they wanted to maintain secrecy until most of the mining hash rate can be upgraded to Bitcoin Core 0.16.3. The bug could have been exploited to inflate the supply of Bitcoin beyond the fixed limit of 21 million.

As first reported, the bug would allow the miner who finds a block to double spend an input within the block, which would cause all full Bitcoin nodes using Bitcoin Core 0.14.0 or later to freeze up and crash. With most of the full nodes still running on Bitcoin Core 0.14.0, a large-scale exploit of the bug could have easily caused a severe disruption of the entire Bitcoin network.

However, the bug was even worse than initially disclosed, and Bitcoin developers kept the full extent of the bug a secret. They released the information about how full nodes must upgrade to Bitcoin Core 0.16.3 to prevent them from crashing or being exploited, as they didn’t want people to know that this bug could be exploited to mint bitcoins until most Bitcoin miners were using Bitcoin Core 0.16.3. Someone actually figured out the full extent of the bug on a forum and posted it on 20 September 2018, but their post got deleted.

How this bug exactly works is that if a miner finds a block and double spends an output from a previous block, they could actually create new bitcoins. The bug was originally introduced in Bitcoin Core 0.14.0 since that version removes a pre-relay block check that ensures no double spending, but at that point, there was no danger of inflating the supply of bitcoins. In Bitcoin Core 0.15.0 and later, the code was subtly changed, creating the situation where a miner could inflate Bitcoin’s supply.

This could have had severe consequences if miners began to exploit this bug and print bitcoins. Aside from inflating coin supply which could cause Bitcoin’s price to go down, it would cause people to lose confidence in the cryptocurrency, since one of Bitcoin’s main selling points is that it can never be printed outside of a set amount of mining.

The developer team was informed about this bug by an anonymous source on 17 September, and by 18 September Bitcoin Core 0.16.3 was released and a public media campaign was launched to get people to upgrade. This shows the strength of Bitcoin’s developer team to quickly respond to critical bugs and fix them.

As of this writing, about 25% of Bitcoin full nodes use Bitcoin Core 0.16.3, and according to the developer team, these nodes include a majority of mining power. Theoretically, miners could decide to exploit this bug by using older versions of Bitcoin Core, but full nodes running Bitcoin Core 0.16.3 would reject these transactions. Therefore, if this bug is exploited at this point it would cause a Bitcoin chain split, but it is unlikely that the exploited buggy chain would gain any momentum.

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The post Bug Fixed in Bitcoin Core 0.16.3 Was Much Worse Than Previously Disclosed, Could Have Inflated Bitcoin Supply appeared first on BitcoinNews.com.

Bitcoin Core 0.16.3 Includes Double Spend Critical Bug Fix

The newest version of the primary Bitcoin wallet software, Bitcoin Core 0.16.3, has been released as of 18 September 2018. This new version eliminates a critical double spend bug that had the potential to crash all Bitcoin Core versions that have the bug. Bitcoin Core is the wallet software used to run 94% of Bitcoin’s full nodes, so upgrading to the new version is important for the health of Bitcoin’s network.

Apparently, since Bitcoin Core 0.14.0, a bug was accidentally introduced where someone could spend the same input twice in a single transaction. Were this broadcast to the network, every Bitcoin Core client receiving the transaction would crash. This bug could not be exploited by anyone, however, only by a miner who finds a block. If a miner double spends in a block they would surrender their 12.5 Bitcoin mining reward, a significant sum of money worth nearly USD 80,000. However, a bad actor willing to lose that much to harm the network could crash 90% of Bitcoin’s full nodes.

The only full nodes that wouldn’t crash were those running the latest version or versions earlier than 0.14.0, or a type of full node software that is not Bitcoin Core. As of this writing on 19 September, only about 1,250 Bitcoin nodes have upgraded to Bitcoin Core 0.16.3, which helps the situation, although it remains a critical problem. There are fewer than 10,000 Bitcoin full nodes and if this bug were to be exploited, especially now that people know about it, it could cause that number to plummet to about 2,000 full nodes.

Although it is worrisome that this critical bug existed in the Bitcoin Core wallet software for so long, it has never been exploited and is now fixed. There is some controversy about this situation, with some people saying it shows the weakness of Bitcoin Core, although it actually demonstrates how the Bitcoin Core team can respond to bugs and fix them in a timely fashion.

 

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The post Bitcoin Core 0.16.3 Includes Double Spend Critical Bug Fix appeared first on BitcoinNews.com.