F2Pool Co-founder Responds To Ethereum Blockchain Manipulation Allegations

The co-founder, Chu Wang of F2Pool has responded to allegations that his mining pool manipulates Ethereum block timestamps using the PoW consensus, to “obtain consistently higher mining rewards.”

Crypto lecturer Aviv Yaish, software algorithm developer Gilad Stern, and computer scientist Aviv Zoharv released a research paper on August 5, which claimed that the mining pool has been engaging in a “consensus-level” attack on Ethereum over the last two years to gain an edge over “honest” miners.

Wang took to Twitter to respond by saying that “we respect the *consensus* as is”, implying that intentionally exploiting the system’s rules doesn’t necessarily mean that rules have been broken.

The research paper alleges that F2Pool is one of the miners that has been using the strategy of timestamp manipulation to earn higher rewards.

Yaish said, “Although most mining pools produce relatively inconspicuous-looking blocks, F2Pool blatantly disregards the rules and uses false timestamps for its blocks.” He also added that F2Pool has been doing this for the past two years.

Wang did not deny any of these allegations. He instead owned up to the evidence and implied that the timestamp manipulation was being done intentionally. 

This strategy of timestamp manipulation is possible because the current proof-of-work consensus laws of Ethereum include a vulnerability that gives miners a “certain degree of freedom” when setting timestamps, which means that false timestamps can be created.

However, researchers believe that this vulnerability will be solved after the blockchain’s transition to proof-of-stake during the Merge, which utilizes a different set of consensus rules.

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