The Parity Pandemonium
In November last year, nearly 580 multi-signature wallets were compromised, freezing Ether (ETH) assets worth an estimated of 250 million dollars at today’s market rate. This wallet library was developed by Parity Technologies, a popular Ethereum software company co-founded by Dr. Gavin Wood.
This aftermath occurred when a rookie developer decided to test the functionality of two bugs in the contract’s source code- One to self-destruct the contract instantly, and the other to enable ownership to it. As a result, all wallets operating under the contract were affected rendering funds inaccessible to owners and projects.
In response to this fiasco, Parity presented the Ethereum Improvement Proposal 999 (EIP999) on April 4, 2018. The proposal was drafted by an employee of Parity, Afri Schoedon, and suggests to reclaim the self-destructed wallets with a patched version of the contract to successfully restore the funds.
Since the Ethereum blockchain does not allow for self-destructed contracts to be reinstated, a hard fork is imminent to the execution of the proposal.
Regardless to say, the EIP 999 has met with its fair share of contention and criticism. Although the approach is different to that adopted for the ‘DAO hack’, it is not any less controversial. Those in favor of the EIP 999, wish to mitigate the frequent losses due to such ‘buggy’ contracts. However, those debating against it warn of the repercussions that would follow, including damage to Ethereum’s integrity.
Which is why a poll was hosted to let the community decide through a coin vote. Users of the frozen wallets could sign with their locked funds to vote for or against the proposal. However, this system, too, raised objections on social media and Reddit since it allowed just a single user to vote even though the wallet was multi-signature by nature. In addition to this, tallies based on funds held by the voters seemed unfair since Polkadot, a side project led by Gavin Wood, has a total of un-spendable 306,000 ETH alone.
Top Ethereum developers also convened last week for an informal discussion to debate on the possibility of another fork. While Parity representatives urged others to move forward, Geth, another Ethereum software, voiced a different opinion. A split would affect transactions and businesses on Ethereum by creating a split version on two chains, and could lead to both being devalued. As both softwares maintain functioning of the blockchain, it is important that a common solution is found first to keep in sync.
The verdict was announced when the poll ended on April 24, 2018. There were 300 votes for the proposal, 330 votes against it, and 9 votes not really giving a dime about what happened. (Yes, that was a coin pun).
Image courtesy of: www.etherchain.org/coinvote/poll/35