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Was the DAO the Best Thing to Happen to Ethereum? And, Can We Have It Back?

Last Updated March 4, 2021 4:56 PM
Andrew Quentson
Last Updated March 4, 2021 4:56 PM

For the first time in human history, around $250 million was stolen last summer, then, by just a code upgrade, the theft was prevented and the money was given back to the rightful owners.

Back then, some said that if ethereum collectively decides to save its own people, the currency is doomed. Now, not even a year later, the market says the currency and platform is in fact worth some five times more than even at its peak before the DAO.

While, on the other hand, the so called immutable ETC chain is valued by the market just above the bottom reached by ETH after the fork. So, were the critics very wrong? Was the DAO fork actually the best thing to have happened to ethereum so far?

The market seems to think so. They probably consider a mature community which was able to quickly reach a pragmatic decision on a very important matter where some $250 million was at stake as something they can work with and trust.

The market clearly values a fail-safe mechanism, employed only in the most exceptional circumstances and only when its employment is a no-brainer. Mistakes happen. The market probably thinks one such mistake should not cost $250 million.

Eth, the as Good as Immutable Blockchain

The critics say but my immutability, as if something either is or isn’t immutable. In this black and white world, somehow bitcoin is immutable, even though they have rolled back their chain a number of times, but ethereum isn’t, even though it has had no roll back.

An easy response to any argument that ethereum is not immutable is by asking them to go and mutate or reverse a transaction. Very good luck with that, because, as always, exceptions prove the rule.

So, in one such exception, if ethereum is mutable only when 80% or 90% support an obvious action and they can achieve their desired result, then why on earth would anyone use any chain which prohibits 90% of their users from achieving their desired result?

Look at bitcoin, finally it is moving now three years after the MT Gox disaster, but still the currency has not even doubled. Some, if not many of those who lost in Gox, probably blame bitcoin, probably turned against it, probably asked their friends to stay away, almost every regulator told the public this thing is very dangerous, and so on.

Now look at ethereum. No one even cares about the DAO anymore except for other coin holders, with the event a mere forgotten blip and it might even be more. Because ethereum may have turned a catastrophe into an opportunity to show to the world that this platform is actually safe because it has a fail-safe mechanism. So it’s very different than other platforms.

A Disaster Turned into a Success Story

Some now say the DAO was actually the best thing to have happened to ethereum. It brought to everyone’s attention the importance of security, it told regulators this is a mature technology which can handle its own problems and does so very rationally, it told companies they are in safe hands, and it told ideologues that this is actually a politically neutral platform without some sort of ideology save for pragmatism.

The argument of the critics is, of course, but who decides. Well, as we saw with the eth/etc split, the market decides and the market’s decision is loud and clear. So if they do not want the market to have free choice, then they are welcomed to go to a platform which pretends to be immutable and likes to endlessly argue minute details for years ending up in stagnation.

Now, with this debate settled, can we have the DAO back? Obviously not the buggy one and not at such huge scale of $200 million, but can we get going this experiment of us becoming directors and CEOs and deciding what companies to invest, with the code automating things.

You know, have a token sale, cap it at $10 million or $20 million, set up a nice website where project proposals can be made, let token holders discuss them, vote on them, that sort of thing. See how it all goes.

If this $20 million is hacked again, that’s fine, it’s peanuts in a market cap nearing $9 billion. But it would be nice if we can get back to talking, among other things, about how smart contract based DAOs could disrupt companies, work, freelancing, while making us all CEOs and directors.

Featured image from DAO.