Category Archives: Provably correct code

Troubles in virtual currencies = troubles producing error-free code


I read this alarming account, A Hacking of More Than $50 Million Dashes Hopes in the World of Virtual Currency, in the New York Times, published on June 17, 2016. Here are three excerpts from the longer article that is well worth reading:

A hacker on Friday siphoned more than $50 million of digital money away from an experimental virtual currency project that had been billed as the most successful crowdfunding venture ever — taking with him not just a third of the venture’s money but also the hopes and dreams of thousands of participants who wanted to prove the safety and security of digital currency. …

But just before the project stopped raising money in late May, computer scientists pointed out several vulnerabilities in its underlying code — effectively warning that what happened to the experimental consortium would be possible or even likely. 

The specific mechanism the hackers used is known as a recursive call vulnerability, — essentially a malicious transaction that moves money away from the D.A.O. into a side fund in an endlessly repeating loop.

I followed a link in the New York Times account, Flaws in Venture Fund Based On Virtual Money, which is also worth reading.

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