Ethereum’s Vitalik Buterin comments on a scenario where a US Court orders an ETH hard fork
The decentralization of Ethereum [ETH], the world’s second largest cryptocurrency and leading smart contract platform, has always been questioned by many in the cryptocurrency community. This time around, Jimmy Song, a Bitcoin proponent and coder, posed two scenarios, asking what the outcome would be.
Interestingly, both scenarios were related to Vitalik Buterin, the creator of Ethereum. The first concerned a hard fork ordered by a court in the United States, where the users who lost money due to the parity bug would gain back access. The second pertained to the outcome: What if Buterin refused to comply with the orders?
Jimmy Song tweeted,
“Honest question: what would happen if a US court orders Vitalik to hard fork ETH to allow people who lost money on the parity bug to recover it? Further, what happens if Vitalik refuses, is found in contempt and starts sitting in jail?”
In November 2017, Parity released an official statement on Twitter about a bug in Parity multi-sig wallet that was accidentally triggered. The vulnerable smart contract that was deployed in July 2017 resulted in Ethereum worth over $280 million being frozen. Out of these funds, over $150 million was Polkadot’s funds, procured via an Initial Coin Offering.
Song’s question gained a lot of traction from the Ethereum community and other communities as well. It also grabbed Vitalik Buterin’s attention, who stated that this question was raised in the past, attaching the link to a video where he addressed these concerns.
The link redirected to TechCrunch 2018, where Buterin spoke about ‘Decentralization in the face of threats.’ Here, Buterin had presented a scenario where a third-party was pointing a gun to his head, asking him to write a hard fork patch. In this case, Buterin stated that he would “definitely write a hard fork patch.” He said,
“[…] I will write up the code, I will publish it, I will do everything they say. If I do this, if I publish a hard fork patch to delete a bunch of accounts, how many people here would be willing to download and install the update and switch to that chain. I see relatively few raised their hands, this is called Decentralization.”
Jamyye, a Twitter user, commented,
“Anyone can code up a hard fork. It’s up to the community (pool owners, miners, full node operators, developers, exchanges) to decide which version of software to run. In the end, its all about the users who choose to use a version over the other, or none at all.”
However, this was followed by some questioning the outcome of the DAO hack, the cause for Ethereum’s chain split. Andres G Aragoneses, a Twitter user, said,
“good answer, but funnily enough, this actually didn’t happen with the DAO hard fork (and nobody knows if there were actually people with guns pointing to Vitalik’s head! heh)”
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