The biggest news in bitcoin this week was the uncovering of the so-called AntBleed scandal and the strong, short-lived rally in the altcoin market.
On April 26, a string of code in the AntMiner firmware was disclosed which can remotely shut down some of the mining machines and on the same day, the website AntBleed.com went online. It discloses a backdoor in new models of AntMiner, the most popular and efficient Bitcoin mining machine today, which is produced by BitMain.
This feature gives BitMain the ability to shut down every AntMiner of the S9 series, which is every machine shipped after July 2016. It can also, the website continues, target specific miners by serial number or IP address, and shut them down. On top of this, the call to the remote server is not written very securely, so it could be subject to DoS attacks, advanced hacks or the action of large scale Anti-DoS providers like CloudFlare, which can shut down miners. All this seems to be accurate beyond doubt.
According to Jihan Wu, CEO of BitMain, “it is a feature that is under development and incomplete. It should help mining rig owners to track their rigs that are hosted by third parties. If it is stolen or hijacked, the owners will be able to use this feature to shut down the miner.”
Furthermore, bitcoin breached its March all-time high this week and most major altcoins have experienced significant price increases, prolonging the altcoin rally of the first quarter for 2017.
The price of Litecoin has rallied from $13.81 to breach $16.00 as SegWit activation began, while the cryptocurrency of the global payments network Ripple (XRP) rallied from $0.031 to breach $0.05 in the past week. The second largest cryptocurrency by market share, Ethereum’s ether (ETH) hit a new all-time