In a recent tweet, Ripple CTO David Schwartz claims that it is “highly likely” that there is a critical bug in at “at least one” major implementation of Bitcoin’s source code.
The vulnerability could potentially allow creating a much higher number of coins, going beyond the 21 million cap.
If the bug gets exploited, it could “erode” confidence in Bitcoin and cause gargantuan losses for exchanges.
His comment came after Matt Hamilton, former director of developer relations at Ripple, recalled how the value overflow incident that occurred in 2010 nearly killed the largest cryptocurrency. Back then, an anonymous hacker exploited a critical vulnerability in Bitcoin’s source code that made it possible to create 184 billion new coins. The flaw was spotted by longtime Bitcoin developer Jeff Garzik. Fixing the vulnerability involved rolling out a soft fork.
In September, a severe bug in the Bitcoin software that could have made it possible for attackers to steal funds from the Lightning Network was disclosed two years after the fix was implemented.
Should long-term holders be worried?
Schwartz says that it is highly that such a bug will never be found or exploited by a malicious actor, which is why Bitcoiners shouldn’t lose their sleep over it.
“Long-term holders don't really have to worry much about it,” the Ripple executive tweeted.
Schwartz believes that such critical bugs are likely to be “extremely rare” since they are yet to be found and exploited despite the fact that there is a massive incentive to look for them.