The Ethereum EIP-1559, whose main objective is to reduce commissions on the network, had a vulnerability that would allow a malicious actor to congest the blockchain and thus make it difficult or impossible to use it. The vulnerability was already fixed.
It was Martin Holst Swende, a security leader at the Ethereum Foundation, who spotted the flaw. Because EIP-1559 did not include a limit on the maximum amount of “tip” that can be given to miners, if the amount was too high and many transactions were made in this way, the network could be overloaded. This can be considered a denial of service (DoS) attack against Mempool.
The matter was discussed in a developer meeting that took place on May 28, the day after Holst Swende identified the problem.
Tim Beiko, a researcher at the Ethereum Foundation who participated in the call, explains that, currently, without the implementation of EIP-1559, this type of attack is not possible because it is necessary to have the necessary funds to pay for the commissions. Instead, after this improvement proposal was activated, it would be possible to propose any amount as a tip to the miners, even if there are insufficient funds. Too many of these “fake tip” transactions could render the network unusable.
Along with the problem he identified, Holst Swende came up with a solution. This consisted of adding four lines of code to the enhancement proposal, which prevent tipping with “incredibly large numbers.” In addition, it is established that “the sender must be able to cover all the maximum resources that he claims.”
“After a bit of discussion, we finally decided that it was safer to add it now, and if anyone has a strong reason for not having this verification we could remove it in a future network update quite easily,” Beiko explained. For this reason, the update is already implemented in the EIP-1559 code.
Not satisfied with this, Beiko adds that it will be necessary to run tests on this matter once the EIP is implemented by Ethereum clients.
EIP-1559 on Ethereum: an expected and questioned solution
The aforementioned improvement proposal will be implemented in June, together with the London hard fork. In summary, this EIP will establish a basic commission, which will be burned, and the possibility of awarding tips to miners.
Those who are optimistic about this implementation hope that EIP-1559 will cause a reduction in commissions on the network, in addition to decreasing the inflation rate of Ether (ETH), Ethereum’s native cryptocurrency.