Legal Ramifications -- The not talked about cost of a 51% attack

in #bitcoin3 years ago

With all the recent talk about 51% attacks on cryptocurrencies one important issue seems to be left out. What are the legal ramifications of pulling off, attempting, or even planning such an attack? Fines, legal costs, and jail time are factors not being taken into consideration in these attack costs. Most people and articles just talk about dollar values of such attacks. Some do discuss the hit a businesses (mining pool) would take for trying such an attack. But what would happen to someone attempting or pulling off an attack?

Let's face it 51% attacks are always a possibility in POW. Security is based on miners acting in their own best interests. Sometimes that interest lies in forking a coin. Most of these forks are simple upgrades and the old chain dies due to most if not all miners switching to it. Sometimes there is a chain split that is planned and announced. Bitcoin/Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum Ethereum classic are 2 such examples. None of these are hostile acts (although some may see them as such). What happens when such a fork is a hostile action against the majority of the community?

Smaller coins have been attacked and destroyed this way in the past. It was long believed that this was a normal thing in POW. A majority chain using it's power to attack and destroy a minority fork to preserve the integrity of the original chain. I don't know if an attack in the best interest of a chain has ever happened though. The only attacks I have heard of were just to destroy a coin because they could.

Now these coins were not worth much if anything. What happens when million or even billion dollar coins are attacked maliciously? I have to believe that some laws would be broken in many jurisdictions around the world. Even if exact laws were not violated I would bet some statues exists that could be used to at least arrest the people pulling off and/or supporting such an attack.

So what are your thoughts? Do you think there would be legal ramifications to attempting and/or pulling off a 51% attack on a coin?