The collateral damage from Bitcoin’s epic inflation bug continues to spread. The developers of the small-cap cryptocurrency Pigeoncoin have confirmed that hackers have successfully exploited the vulnerability to print 235 million pigeoncoins worth around $ 15,000.
Attackers used remnants of bad Bitcoin code to ‘strictly’ circumvent Pigeoncoin. 21 billion supplies, CoinDesk reports.
This is the first time hackers have successfully exploited the inflation bug in the wild. Last week, attackers used it to split the controlled Bitcoin test network into two separate blockchains.
Recently, security researchers discovered a potentially crippling flaw in Bitcoin Core that could be used to print virtually infinite quantities of Bitcoin, increasing supply above the theoretical limit of 21 million.
Since the Bitcoin Core software (the software that runs the Bitcoin network) is open source, many developers of new cryptocurrencies borrow their code to create their own blockchains. This process is known as forking.
Pigeoncoin is a “fork” of Bitcoin, which means that it is really a copy of a copy. It shares a lot of code with the older, vulnerable versions of Bitcoin Core.
While the hackers have not sold or even moved the newly minted pigeoncoins since they were created, this sets an amazing precedent for the coming months as small Bitcoin-related cryptocurrencies work on their individual fixes.
This is a warning to all developers who manage cryptocurrencies that share code with Bitcoin Core: developers of split bitcoin cryptocurrencies need to make corrections to protect investors from unstoppable inflation.
Again, it’s up to the people responsible for maintaining each network, as well as the cryptocurrency exchange desks, to drive these fixes or remain vulnerable to hackers flooding the markets with millions of counterfeit coins.
In the case of Bitcoin – machines called nodes operate their network – and we still don’t know exactly how many of them are currently protected from the inflation bug. Current estimates assume that between 50 percent and well over 80 percent of the nodes are still completely exposed.
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