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Ethereum’s Soft-fork Unanimous, Hard-fork Uncertain

Last Updated March 4, 2021 4:49 PM
Andrew Quentson
Last Updated March 4, 2021 4:49 PM

With $250 million on the line, Ethereum is moving at lightspeed as the latest unsybilable miner voting shows they almost unanimously back the fork, with more than 90% in favor.

Gavin Wood, founder of Ethcore, the company that develops Parity, one of Ethereum’s clients, confirmed the soft-fork has been merged stating:

“[T]he development branch of the Parity codebase now includes some functionality to allow miners to block certain transactions.”

The softfork is still waiting to be merged  in Go, the Ethereum client used by most users. Jeffrey Wilcke, an ethereum founder and lead developer of go-ethereum (geth), told CCN.com that the soft fork “will be merged rather soon” before adding following our probing questions “[w]ithin 4 days.” George Hallam, spokesman for Ethereum Foundation, confirmed that the soft-fork will be merged in “a couple of days.”

There seems to be little, if any controversy, regarding ethereum’s soft-fork , which freezes 12 million eth currently held in the DAO smart contract with Hallam replying to our question on whether there was full developers consensus on the soft-fork by stating “[d]evs agree on the soft fork.”

The light-speed reaction may be due to potential concerns that an exploit may be found to take eth out of the DAO system with Hallam stating:

“All systems have weaknesses, we plan with that knowledge in the forefront of our minds. The community continues to be on full alert. A soft fork would negate the potential for that scenario.”

This speedy reaction may cool down once the soft-fork is implemented. “All options are on the table” says Hallam regarding the hard-fork, “we don’t make the decision on this we, along with others, can only provide tools and information to help the community come to consensus on the path forward.”

“More options will present them self over the next couple days once our emotions have settled and when we can think straight again” says Wilcke after emphasizing “it’s very important that we explore all possible options. That includes not forking and finding another way.”

“There are lots of different opinions on the best way to move forward,” said Hallam, “[t]here’s still a lot of discussion that needs to take place” before adding that any time estimate on the developer’s decision on the matter was “unknown at this stage.”

Close sources knowledgeable with inner developments state that “the foundation will come back from” Buterin’s Critical Update  statement which suggested the soft-fork would be followed by a hard-fork indicating that, perhaps, they can pull a rabbit out of the hat and perhaps avoid the hard-fork.

Ethereum’s soft-fork seems to have unanimous agreement, even within public spaces such as ethereum’s subreddit, but the question of a hard-fork has turned the place into a metaphorical war zone over the past few days with heated debates across all fora. “When I heard about it, I approved, now… I’m not sure” says Antonio Madeira, one of the many small Ethereum miners, reflecting the difficult decision that the community has to make.

“Like breaking a bone, I’m ready to just get it over already” says another small miner, encompassing the weight of this monumental and defining decision.

Following the findings of Philip Daian, a researcher at Cornell University’s Initiative for Crytocurrencies & Contracts, that the hack was partly the fault of Solidity – Ethereum’s smart contract programming language – it seemed that the question of forking was settled, but “[t]he situation is complex and there are arguments on all sides for how to proceed” says Wood.

Unless a rabbit comes out of a hat, the longer this continues the more it is likely to damage the barely nascent ethereum community which may be experiencing the most testing and defining moment, perhaps, of its entire existence. The options aren’t easy, but neither choice is likely to be more damaging than a never ending debate with no active and conclusive decision to put behind what has gone. Hallam states:

“This is the first major test for the Ethereum network. It’s is going to be trying for the Ethereum community, but this is something we absolutely can and will recover from.”

There are rumors  the hard-fork may be implemented as soon as 27th of June, but discussion is on-going, with all options on the table, including, perhaps, a rabbit out of the hat.

Featured image from Shutterstock.