That's at least what I understood the 51% attack to be.
Basically have >50% quorum and you can just add any transaction to the shared ledger
If this is actually done, the currency's with would be basically done for, so unlikely that anyone would do that
The general technical audience tends to greatly overestimate the amount of power that a 51% attack has. A 51% attack can only do two basic things:
1. prevent certain transactions from making it onto the chain (somewhat expensive)
2. re-write history so that previously confirmed transactions are no longer on the chain (quite expensive - increasingly expensive the further back in time you rewind)
You can't change the rules of the system, you can't arbitrarily steal funds from users, you can't change the inflation rate, etc.
Double spending requires having counterparty, confirming a transaction with that counterparty, and then re-writing history to eliminate the transaction that the counterparty accepted. Coins that aren't in motion during the 51% attack can't be stolen, and coins that are in motion but aren't being sent from the attacker also can't be stolen.
When a double-spend occurs, usually it's from a deep chain reorg. This is what people usually refer to as a double-spend attack, not the kind of reorg where it only affects a few of the top blocks (which isn't uncommon). The latter occur relatively frequently due to the nature of Proof-of-Work being essentially a race.
Consensus mechanisms can detect when a sudden "deep" reorg occurs, e.g. a sudden reorg of 200 blocks that we didn't previously expect to be reordered. When this happens, it's relatively safe to say that this is a double-spend attack and we can disregard the attacker's chain. There's variations of this that additionally add things like "checkpointing" wherein reorgs beyond a certain block depth (the "checkpoint") are impossible at the consensus level.
There's a lot to critique about blockchain tech, but miner centralization is a relatively dated concern. Yes, it's a concern for many blockchains, but for the major Proof-of-Work chains (Bitcoin, Ethereum), it's not an issue anymore.
Leverage, control. There's some play for what term we use to define the imbalance of these systems. But it sure seems like large, amassed forces have enormous sway over many of these systems, to the point where they can act as they want & are incentivized to do so with other large malfeasants.
Wow, I have no idea how you read that really awesome article and concluded with such a response as this.
The article demonstrates how the authors were able to collaborate with miners to safely secure $9M worth of tokens due to a security vulnerability in a smart contract on a public blockchain where anyone could figure out the vulnerability and execute it before they could secure the funds.
Being upset that a miner is able to pick transactions that they want to include in their block demonstrates a clear lack of knowledge in how these distributed databases (blockchains) work and any critique similar to this can be disregarded.
I think me & the author both identified exactly how dangerous it is that large powerful forces in these pools can pick & choose which transactions they want to win.
The author had to go peer with others to make their own large coordinated/centralized pool to try to make sure they had some chance of winning.
Agreed that this was a public contract, & they managed to save the bacon via this coordination. But it's amazing how user-hostile it is trying to get anything done in these distributed environments. The power is enormously shifted to the hands of the large players. In many ways, a centrally managed but observable is a higher trust, higher security, more user-supporting system than these distributed systems.