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DAO HACK – to fork or not to fork.


The recent hack to The DAO smart contract wallet drained about 30% of the Ether owned by the Decentralized Autonomous Organization and its members, and there is a chance more will be drained before a solution is found. DAO Holders are adviced to use their best judgment in this case by selling their tokens, voting yes to an upcoming split proposal as soon as the voting ends or to wait for the Ethereum Hard-fork, which may not even come at all.

Friday Morning, as many woke up to see what had happened to the biggest crowd funding project of all time, Vitalik Buterin and others were already working to fix it.

Vitalik acted fast and “appeared online” just as the attack was being carried out, and quickly gave the “battlefield” commands. Pool Operators were to change Gas price and users were to spam the network so that no transactions would be processed, those were the orders, at the time but as the problem is being dealt with, a more permanente solution was proposed, Forking:

Vitalki Buterin has proposed a soft-fork solution to the Ethereum community. The Software fork will not cause any roll back on the Blockchain (meaning no transactions would be reversed). The solution presented is not a conclusive one, as the it will make the funds stolen by the hacker unusable by The DAO, the hacker or anyone else.

A Hard-Fork was also proposed, this measure would bring the Ethereum network back to a recovery point where the Ether stolen from The DAO contract could be recovered and sent back to The DAO holders, thus ending The DAO experiment in a way that will not hurt its investors.

Many disagree with the Hard-Fork measure, since The DAO is not part of the Ethereum protocol and it would set precedents for future hard-forks to be used for the advantage of the few.

Since the Ethereum is a decentralized peer-to-peer Network, this decision will be taken by the Miner community. In order to vote for or against the soft or hard fork, miners can send information along with the blocks mined, stating their opinion on the matter. Pool miners are advised to check your pool’s homepage and to stick or move to a pool that promotes the decision they make.

It is also possible to vote for the soft-fork and to vote against the hard-fork, which would leave the thief empty handed but would not previlege the DAO holders with a rollback on the blockchain. The miner community seems to be inclined to vote for a soft-fork and against the hard-fork, time will tell however.

As for the price of Ethereum and The DAO, they continue to plummit in this time of uncertanty, but that can change at any time given the unnatural state of the market at this point.

Stay tuned for more developments.

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António Madeira

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