Bytecoin, an untraceable privacy-preserving cryptocurrency, has just seen an astronomical triple-digit percent surge in price. The cryptocurrency soared to the all time high market capitalisation of $444,000,000, before calming down to around $300,000,000 and establishing itself at the top 10 cryptocurrencies by market capitalization at the time of writing (according to CoinMarketCap). A symbolic turning point for one of the first untraceable cryptocurrencies launched in 2012.
The price hike happens upon the flourishing investor interest in cryptocurrency markets, and in particular upon the growing public appreciation of untraceable cryptocurrencies that contain privacy mechanisms (other examples are Monero, Dash and Zcash, which have also experienced an increase in value in the recent months). The Bytecoin surge may also be attributed to the announcement of the new features, which include allegedly never-before-implemented untraceable tokens - also known as “digital assets” or “colored coins”.
Amid the Bytecoin price rise, a cryptocurrency Monero has released a statement disclosing a vulnerability in the CryptoNote protocol, that underlies both Monero and Bytecoin cryptocurrencies. As written in the statement, the bug “allows for the creation of an unlimited number of coins in a way that is undetectable to an observer unless they know about the fatal flaw and can search for it.” The statement does not list Bytecoin as one of the currencies that have updated the protocol following the detection of the bug.
According to the official response from the Bytecoin, its development team has been aware of the vulnerability in April 2017, when during software testing it has discovered that several malicious transactions creating 504 million Bytecoins had appeared in the network - which accounts for 0.2% of the total 183 billion Bytecoin supply.
The development team states that it patched the bug and worked with the mining services to update their software (that validates the transactions in the network), as soon as the bug was found. According to Minergate, the major Bytecoin mining pool, it was contacted by the Bytecoin team in the mid April and “the fix to the mining software has been implemented by adding more checks for the transactions consistency” shortly thereafter.
The updated version prevented blocks with malicious transactions to be mined and thus no extra coins could be created. The questions still remain about the cryptocurrency exchanges and wallets, who are supposedly “safe to stick with the previous version of software”, according to the Bytecoin statement, but “encouraged to update the protocol”.
The rise of token untraceability
In spite of this bug discovery and patching, the CryptoNote-based cryptocurrency markets, including Monero and Bytecoin, has been positive, keeping them among the top 10 by capitalisation. Whether it is because the coin holders are not well-informed of the protocol issues or they are confident of the development teams’ ability to manage these issues, the fact remains that Monero’s and Bytecoin’s capitalizations jointly amount to $750,000,000 at the time of writing, and as a result many early adopters have gone from rags to riches.
With the ICO phenomenon coming into place this may not be all, as new cryptocurrency teams emerge stating their intention to adopt the privacy-preserving CryptoNote protocol.
In fact, if the concept of untraceable tokens (untraceable digital assets) becomes a reality this year as promised in the Bytecoin roadmap, the major trends of the crypto world could in theory converge: the booming ICO phenomenon, the increasing capitalisation of tokens created on top of various blockchain platforms, and the growing market interest in untraceability and privacy. We are here to observe and see.