Ethereum launch: Half-Finished Builds, Private key Bug and Exchange Dumpfest

When Ethereum was finally released to the public, quite a few people had high expectations of this platform and the associated digital currency called “Ether.”  However, ever since the launch itself, it became clear that it would take quite a bit of tweaking and prodding to get Ethereum running on most computers.  Quite a shame for a project that raised millions of USD in investment capital, yet failed to deliver a user-friendly piece of technology.

Ethereum: Botched Launch Private Key IssuesEthereum Small

The launch of Ethereum has been plagued with issues, bugs and hotfixes.  For those users who did manage to get Ethereum fully up and running on their computer, there was the issue of getting mining to work.  Instructions were provided, yet it took quite a bit of tinkering before GPU mining Ether was in effect.

Not that there was much use for mining Ether anyway, as sending transactions was not enabled on launch.  It took the developers over half a week to enable this functionality.  Albeit this might have been intentional, to give everyone a fair chance to get everything set up, it seemed like a rushed release of a sloppy, half-assed project.

But the fun didn’t end there.  Windows users, who represent the major part of the Ethereum community, became victim of a private key bug.  Everyone using the AlethZero and regular Eth client was affected by a bug that failed to write the private keys of certain identities.  Any funds transferred to this identity would be lost.

“While setting privacy permissions on the keys directory, insufficient error handling can cause the key files to not be written; this may be widespread on the Windows platform.  As such, current versions of AlethZero and eth may include identities for which there exists no underlying key.  Ether Presale Claim functionality of AlethZero may result in funds automatically being transferred to these lost identities.”

Even though Bitcoin has seen its fair share of issues as well in the early days, the Ethereum took multiple years to complete, after learning from Bitcoin development mistakes. On top of that, millions of USD in funding should at least include the delivery of a project that is working in a user-friendly manner, and not something that requires advanced computer skills to get up and running.

But the Ethereum developers deserve some praise and credit too, as the private key issue was hotfixed in a swift and timely manner.  That being said, they failed to include a link to the hotfix when it was released, causing even more concern regarding the competence and coordination of the Ethereum team.

Trading Ethereum on Kraken – Odd PrioritiesKraken Logo

Once everything regarding the Ethereum clients and transactions was finally working as intended, quite a few miners and pre-sale investors started transferring their coins to the Kraken exchange.  At the time of writing, Kraken and Poloniex are the only exchanges where Ether is being actively traded.

Trading on Kraken was a bit of a scramble as well, as only Tier 4 verified account holders could trade their Ether against Bitcoin during the first few hours.  The reason for this still remains unknown to date, but suffice to say that most holders decided to dump ETH in order to get funds out as soon as possible.

Ever since that time, the exchange rate for Ether has stabilized, and the wait begins for Ethereum-based projects to near completion. So far, no official ETA’s have been announced yet, making it entirely possible for the ETH price to drop even further.

Images courtesy of Ethereum and Kraken

  • I think they’ve done a great job, and that the launch went very smoothly considering what a massive undertaking Ethereum is. Most people didn’t even believe it would be possible to pull it off at all, and no one else has attempted such a grand project in the crypto space.