Over the past few days, it has been a wild ride if you are a fan of cryptocurrency. We all know someone or a team of hackers found an exploit within the DAO protocol and drained a lot of money. This particular happening shook up the entire community most especially the Ethereum and DAO supporters themselves. The severe blow left the two clans of crypto-projects three choices let the attacker do as they please with the Ether, soft fork, or hard fork.
Currently, there has been a vote via Ethereum developer Vlad Zamfir’s Twitter page on whether the community thinks they should hard fork the protocol. This would, in turn, allow the Ether to go back to their original home before the attack. The voting on Zamfir’s Twitter post at the current time says the vote is 54% yes and 46% no. Hard forks are not too easy to convince the community as it is not forward compatible which means it cannot allow the protocol to ease into a later version of its mirror image. This tactic would essentially revert the Ether back into the original holding wallet.
The act of hard forking is somewhat of a sin in the land of cryptocurrencies and can definitely leave a scarlet letter on the blockchain’s image. Coins such as Vericoin after the Mintpal hack had the cryptocurrency community up in arms. A soft fork is something the community has also been discussing and there is code laid out on the table as we speak on GitHub. However, there is also heated debate within that forum with community members disagreeing with the action. It currently is a work in progress, but one commenter on GitHub writes:
“I lost some ETH when I made a bad contract too, can I get a soft-fork flag? Agreed, but can I get a soft-fork flag to lock the funds of someone who has my coins because of the smart contract I created didn’t perform as I expected? Also, I want this flag to be default anyone can turn it off with. I’d rather not flood the project with duplicate pull requests. I just want a default flag that gives me special treatment in the protocol, what’s wrong with that?”
The morality of the decision has been questioned by the commenter on GitHub and also many in the community. Right now the Ethereum members of the community are pretty upset and have asked questions on the subreddit forum r/ethereum like “Will Stephan Tual apologize?” Or are saying things like “The Ethereum foundation needs to distance itself from the people behind The DAO (Slock.it) if there is to be any chance of moving forward.” Some Ethereum supporters are distraught and feel the DAO was not part of their system, and the project itself used the Ethereum protocol poorly.
These plans were supposedly discussed from the time it happened as leading Ethereum developers asked many exchanges to halt trading, look out for unusual trades, and possibly blacklist the market getting hit. But as time continued trading continued and the blog post originally stating a hard fork may happen was changed as some core developers disagreed with a hard fork.
To top it all off a person claiming to be the “attacker” wrote to the two communities saying what was done was completely valid. Some call the writer just a troll because the signature used to sign the letter was invalid. Alongside this someone showed up in the DAO Slack acting as the attacker’s intermediary and gave away, 6 bitcoin’s to the users inside the chat room. As well as tossing the dough around and bragging about the act a touch, the intermediary also did a little interview.
Now there is continued debate over forks and whether or not the two communities should be close to each other. With $160 million dollars on the line, reputations are at risk for both teams if Ethereum developers decide to fork. And the Slock.it team for their work on the project altogether. Currently, there is a large schism from both teams and even the crypto community in general. Forks are touchy subjects.
“You got to trust your instincts and let go of regrets…”
Images courtesy of Pixabay