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Ethereum Classic Hardforks Successfully

Last Updated March 4, 2021 4:51 PM
Andrew Quentson
Last Updated March 4, 2021 4:51 PM

Ethereum Classic forked for the first time this morning to address a number of dos attack vectors that have affected ETC’s network for weeks. The upgrade faced no technical problems, with most of the network and miners smoothly transitioning from the old client to the new Gas Price Hardfork client. However, ETC’s price has not reacted positively, falling by more than 3% in contrast to Eth’s price which rose by almost 10% after it successfully hardforked last week.

ETC’s price may be a reaction to bitcoin’s gain in value –  itself arguably because some miners have publicly called for a bitcoin hardfork at the miner’s conference this week – but the lackluster response to ETC’s fork may also reflect concerns regarding the second hardfork to clear bloat caused by empty accounts as some in ETC’s community argue the upcoming second fork violates immutability principles because empty accounts would be removed, even though the attacker followed the rules when creating them.

Emin Gün Sirer, Cornell Professor, publicly stated:

“The ETC github page has some nice aspirational text about execution “free from … subjective tampering with transactions.””


Nonetheless, ETC developers seem to have reached an overall consensus on both forks, but, how such consensus was reached is not clear as despite the apparent controversy, there have been no attempts to gauge the overall opinion of ETC users, with no vote or poll. Instead, it seems the decision was solely made by ETC developers.

This isn’t the first time ETC developers have made a significant decision in a fairly centralized manner. They have apparently agreed to remove Ethereum’s difficulty bomb, fundamentally changing the network’s rules and roadmap, without any public discussion, community guided decision making or ETC holder’s vote.

ETC’s governance method for development decisions, therefore, appears to be centralized. As such, in combination with a centrally decided technical violation of the immutability principles, ETC’s promises of immutability and decentralization have not been reflected  in practice.

In any event, this is the first of two forks that ETH and ETC are to undertake to deal with a number of dos attack vectors.  The first fork, which was uncontroversial for both communities, was last week for ETH and today for ETC. The second fork, which aims to further optimize the network and make it more robust against dos attacks, was considered less urgent. Hardfork clients, therefore, have not yet been launched and there is no time estimate, but it is expected in the coming weeks.

The second fork is not controversial in any way for ETHs community with no arguments made against it, but it appears to be highly controversial for ETC, with a small community  already formed to continue the original ETC chain. However, whether the fork will lead to two chains, especially considering that ETC’s community is very small, remains to be seen.

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