Gauntlet Attack Simulation and Analysis Found that Mina, the World’s Lightest Blockchain, is Highly Resilient to Attacks

Gauntlet's research report on Mina Protocol reveals that Mina's use of recursive zk-SNARKs improves scalability while retaining high resilience to 51% attacks.

San Francisco, CA February 2, 2021 – Gauntlet, a financial modeling platform for decentralized finance, released its research report on Mina, the world’s lightest blockchain. The report explains that Mina’s use of recursive zk-SNARKs reduces chain size to a constant 22kb, dramatically improving scalability from legacy blockchains. The question Gauntlet’s analysis set out to answer was, “does this technological improvement have security tradeoffs?”

Gauntlet’s attack simulation found that Mina Protocol improves scalability, and the expense required to launch a successful 51% attack would be prohibitive:

“Mina protocol is actually often more expensive than normal PoS attacks. The main condition where it is cheaper requires the attacker to withstand an 80% drop in token price while still being able to execute a profitable attack. With common attacks like a double spend, it is likely that this is a prohibitive requirement for performing the attack profitably.”

Evan Shapiro, CEO and Co-Founder of O(1) Labs, the team behind Mina, shared, “By deploying recursive zk-SNARKs to ensure Mina always remains a constant size of just 22kb (the size of a few tweets), we have made Mina more accessible and mobile-friendly than most other layer-one protocols. Gauntlet’s report shows that not only have we improved scalability from legacy blockchains, but Mina is also highly attack-resistant, and launching an attack would be cost-prohibitive.”

For Sybil resistance, Mina utilizes the Ouroboros Samasika proof-of-stake (PoS) consensus algorithm. This algorithm improves upon the Ouroboros family of algorithms, which were among the first provably-secure PoS systems.

One criticism of the Ouroboros family of protocols concerns the methodology for selecting validators. Validators are selected ahead of the epoch in which they validate, as opposed to other protocols where the stake must be maintained throughout validation. This opens the protocol to a potential attack when:

  1. A (attacking) validator accumulates a large stake
  2. They are selected to validate many times in the upcoming epoch
  3. Before this epoch, they sell the stake, allowing them to create a fork in the protocol without having exposure to the MINA token.

For this attack to be successful, among other limitations, there needs to be an unrealistic amount of liquidity in the protocol token or the attacker loses too much money exiting their position. Gauntlet’s attack simulation found that, under a variety of scenarios and assumptions, it is unlikely that Mina and Ouroboros Samasika introduce risk above and beyond other PoS protocols. More info and detail in the report: https://gauntlet.network/reports/mina

For media inquiries, please contact Kili Wall at (310) 260-7901 or Kili(at)MelrosePR(dot)com.

About Mina Mina is the world’s lightest blockchain, powered by participants. Rather than apply brute computing force, Mina uses advanced cryptography and recursive zk-SNARKs to design an entire blockchain that is and always will be about 22kb, the size of a couple tweets, ushering in a new era of blockchain accessibility. With its robust decentralized network and open-programmable currency, Mina is powering a more efficient and fair Web 3.0 so anyone can participate, build, exchange and thrive. Mina is a project of O(1) Labs, a leader in verifiable computation.

About Mina Protocol

Mina Protocol is being incubated by O(1) Labs, the leader in zk-SNARKs and verifiable computation. Mina Protocol, the world’s lightest blockchain, provides a foundation for the decentralized digital economy (Web 3.0), by affording all participants fully P2P, permissionless access to the chain, from any device. By utilizing recursive zk-SNARKs, the Mina blockchain always stays the same size — about 20 kilobytes (the size of a few tweets). Recursive zk-SNARKs allow nodes to rapidly share and update proof of the correct blockchain state across the network. This breakthrough application of zk-SNARKs solves the issues of scalability and high barrier to entry for nodes that have plagued legacy blockchains to-date. By making it easier for nodes to participate, Mina improves decentralization and therefore security of the network. The Mina blockchain can be easily accessed from any device, including phones and browsers, and can be seamlessly integrated into new decentralized applications (dapps).

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