The Optimism Foundation, the entity behind the eponymous Layer-2 scaling solution for Ethereum, is cracking down on sybil attackers.
To maximize influence or profit, some individuals or organizations create multiple online accounts — or, in the world of crypto, wallets — posing as independent or unaffiliated. These so-called Sybil attackers hoard value created by airdrops, the crypto giveaways meant to generate interest in a nascent project, as well as power over a project whose tokens confer governance rights.
“Optimism is for the people, not the sybils,” the Foundation said in a Monday post announcing the identification and removal of more than 17,000 alleged sybil attackers.
According to its website, the Optimism Foundation runs the Optimism Collective, “a band of companies, communities, and citizens bound by a mutually beneficial pact to uphold the fairness ratio,” meaning that positive contributions should be rewarded with commensurate profit. Revenue generated by the Optimism protocol will, in turn, be distributed by the Collective to projects and communities building on Optimism.
Optimism had originally identified 248,699 wallets as eligible for its first-ever airdrop, which is scheduled for an as-yet unannounced date later this year. The airdrop will distribute OP, a token that will govern protocol upgrades, project incentives and more.
14M $OP Redistributed
Of the nearly 250,000 eligible wallets, more than 17,000 — which had, altogether, been assigned more than 14 million OP tokens — were likely sybil accounts, Optimism said Monday.
“All of the OP recovered will be redistributed proportionally to other recipients of Airdrop #1,” the Foundation tweeted. “It’s like an extra mini airdrop.”
According to a public spreadsheet of disqualified wallets, almost 2,100 suspicious accounts were identified by Optimism community members. Nearly 9,000 were flagged by suspicious “L1 activity” and more than 11,000 were flagged by suspicious “L2 activity.” Some were flagged by a combination of the above.
“Like our initial sybil filters for Airdrop #1, we’ve chosen not to publicize these additional filters,” Optimism tweeted. “Teaching sybils how to become undetectable is not in anyone’s best interest.”
Some who were originally allocated OP tokens but later flagged as sybil attackers weren’t thrilled by the move.
“This seems pretty arbitrary,” wrote BlockChainBobC. “I’ve been a crypto user since 2016, Donated to gitcoin grants, and try to test out all the newest protocols. I spent lots of gas testing @optimismPBC on a few accounts, only to be called a sybil attacker. So much for decentralization! Forget Optimism.”
Others said they had alreadyreceived an additional allocation of OP tokens or celebrated a strike against so-called “airdrop hunters.”
Web3 organizations are becoming more aggressive in their fight against sybil attackers. Earlier this month, the Hop Protocol, which allows users to bridge assets across Ethereum Layer 2 solutions as well as sidechains like Polygon, initiated a two-week program to report sybil addresses when it airdropped its $HOP token.
Of the 43,058 addresses eligible for the $HOP airdrop initially, 10,253 were identified as Sybil addresses and excluded from the final list. Hop said more projects were likely to follow its lead as sybil attackers improve their methods. “Sybil attackers are running rampant and are getting more sophisticated as methods to filter them out improve as well,” Hop said. “These Sybil attackers stand directly at odds with a healthy distribution and attempt to take tokens that should be in the hands of positive-sum users.”
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