In a recent poll, Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin asked whether it would ever be appropriate to conduct a hard fork to revert chain activity after a serious hack. The overwhelming response was no.
As you might recall, Ethereum experienced a DAO hack in 2016 which led to the splitting of the Ethereum chain into two chains, the main Ethereum chain (ETH) and the so-called ‘Ethereum Classic’ (ETC). The hard fork was controversial since it effectively rolled back the chain to return the hacked ETH to those affected — a decision that is still debated to this day.
Ethereum Community’s Resounding Response
Asking about this same topic, Buterin recently asked his followers whether such a move would be appropriate today—and, if so, how much ETH must be staked for someone to support this?
Suppose a popular smart contract wallet that a large portion of the ETH community uses gets hacked. This could be reverted by reverting all chain activity since the hack and doing a DAO-style HF to recover the funds. How much ETH must be at stake for you to support this?
— Vitalik Non-giver of Ether (@VitalikButerin) October 25, 2019
The results were overwhelmingly negative towards the idea. An overwhelming 63% believed that such an intervention and hard fork was never OK. The remaining supporters of such a measure were split, with 16% believing that 10-100M ETH needed to be staked to make this happen; 9% believed one needed 1-10M staked, and 12% believed less than 1M ETH staked was fine.
Controversy in the Twitter Replies Ensues
Still, the measure proved incredibly controversial and some of the replies reignited old criticisms. As Nicolas Dorier (@NicolasDOrier) proactively wrote, “at the end of the day, it all depends on whether or not Vitalik was using the wallet.”
Buterin fired back at Dorier’s assertion that somehow the DAO-related hard fork was done to save his own funds.
You realize my (DAO holdings / total ETH holdings) ratio was like 50x smaller than that of the average ETH community member, right?
I continue to not understand people who literally think I was trying to hard-fork ethereum to save $19k.
— Vitalik Non-giver of Ether (@VitalikButerin) October 26, 2019
Others seemed to be wondering why Buterin was asking the question to begin with. After all, it seemed strange to ask such a question given that there has been no hack.
Overall, Buterin seems to be asking the question in good faith. However, with such hostility towards Ethereum’s original 2016 hard fork, it would be smart for the team not to repeat these same mistakes. Hacks sometimes happen, but changing the code to revert transactions makes many in the cryptocurrency world uneasy.
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