The most fascinating vote in crypto history now has just two more days to go as ethereans make known their opinion on a deceptively simple question with significant implications.
More than 2 million eth have voiced their opinion and 70% are now in favor of restoring some 500,000 eth in a complete switch from yesterday. While 30% are against.
On a meta note, there is plenty to say about this vote, but we think this is the most objective measure to discern where opinion stands.
It is very much imperfect, but few can really say the Brexit referendum vote was in any way perfect, or the Trump election.
The point of voting is to have a decision mechanism, imperfect as it may be, because without such vote then who decides? If there is a better method, we are all ears.
Which is why here at trustnodes we’ll take whatever position this vote takes once it closes. We have our own opinion, of course, but we’ll set that aside and respect the results because this is a difficult decision and because we don’t think our own opinion is better than that of the many.
We also think developers and others should voice their opinion now on the vote, and thereafter set aside their own opinion and stand united by the collective decision.
Because we don’t think there is any better way to have a yes or a no, to have an actual decision, regarding this specific question and in general for what ethereum itself should do.
We gave our views yesterday, when 70% were against, on what should happen if the vote is against. The matter should be shelved in that instance, we think. Parity should not minority split either (although of course that’s completely a matter for them, but if yesterday’s results were the final results we think that would be untenable.) And the ecosystem should focus full speed ahead on Casper/Sharding without distraction.
Today, we’ll give our views on what should happen if 70% are in favor once the vote closes, and why it should happen.
We think if this is the end result ethereum clients should offer the choice of forking, with the default option being the restored eth chain.
We think so because although this vote immediately concerns whether the 500,000 eth should be restored, the question is actually far bigger and amounts to nothing else than what ethereum should be.
Should it be a conservative chain that moves slow, seeing itself as already established, or should ethereum instead move fast and break things, then fix them?
Both positions have reasonable points, but today the vote is 70% in favor, so we’ll give that point of view.
Ethereum is at the frontier, exploring new, unknown worlds. Mistakes not just happen, but are to be expected. Everything is done to ensure they don’t happen, of course, but if in fact they don’t happen we should see that as a miracle, and when they do happen we should not be surprised at all.
Because this is still so new. Bitcoin of course had bugs at this stage, one even printed out billions of bitcoins. They got so scared they turned off all the op-codes, or bitcoin’s simple smart contracts like scripting language. That can be seen as a reasonable choice, but it was a choice to in effect discourage innovation.
Ethereum is fully entitled to make a similar decision, but they should know that is the decision they would be making even though perhaps not at the same scale.
Because let’s remember how this bug in Parity’s multi-sig was found. It was found by basically a noob going around pressing buttons.
We sang an ode to the noob. We love the noob. We want more noobs like him going around pressing buttons. Hopefully without causing chaos, but if even a little noob can cause chaos, then we better know of it.
Because if this is going to power economies, if machines are going to run on smart contracts, if lawyers are going to hold court on this, we better have something that can actually handle a noob.
Ethereum is still at such an early stage, the space is so tiny by comparison to what it could be, there is still so much to refine and explore, that we shouldn’t be punishing pioneers or little noobs learning.
The platform is at the bleeding edge, not cutting edge, and it is no where near its final form. There will be Casper, which will in a way transform it, then there will be sharding which will give it the full power.
Once we’re at sharding, then perhaps we can talk of freezing the chain, not least because the ecosystem would probably become so big it would practically become impossible to have forks.
Then we can talk of backwards compatible upgrades and so on because any refinements would probably be small and relatively insignificant.
But to get there we have to learn, we have to explore, we have to make mistakes, we have to see what can be done, we have to find these little bugs, so that this matures and becomes so robust it can handle anything.
Now is not the time to punish learning when even the most senior experts, arguably when even the ones that wrote and in part created this whole thing, are caught by some unexpected bug.
If ethereum had the experience, the maturity, the knowledge, and someone does something that’s not in line with best practices, then they’re to blame.
But here, who is really to blame? Would the auditors have really found the multi-sig bug? All those open source devs didn’t, all those devs of the other non-parity ICOs didn’t, but an auditor would have?
Maybe, but we don’t blame the devs. They’re working on bleeding edge technology. They should be careful, of course, but they shouldn’t be punished so severely.
It is true there’s a difficult question of where to draw the line, but an easy way to draw it is where the vote passes with a decent majority.
That is, we collectively decide where to draw the line, and since getting to the point of a collective decision is no easy task, then that means it needs to be something or some amount worth deciding.
The alternative is to say never, but no one really holds that position. Their real position is never except for when it’s a protocol bug. Is multi-sig a protocol bug? Plenty can say no, but can it really not be argued that it is?
The point we’re making there is that there are no simple choices, and if it isn’t us collectively through such votes deciding where to draw the line, then it is a few developers. Then, one could say, the system can become gamable.
Developers are humans too, they have feelings, opinions, and even if they are absolute angels they too will succumb to that dictum that power corrupts.
That, of course, doesn’t apply to Vitalik Buterin, but one could say in this matter he is perhaps more concerned with marketing than the real trade-off to be made:
“What I see is a single company is proposing a change and a great majority unambiguously opposing it,” Buterin says before adding:
“I personally think it’s about time people admit that the people who thought the DAO fork would *not* set an expansive and lasting precedent were completely correct.”
He may be right if the vote goes no, but if current results are the end results and ethereum does fork, then that would show that ethereum is in fact not centralized and Buterin doesn’t in fact decide such matters.
Some bitcoiners, of course, will keep saying plenty of things about eth, but by now it is more likely most bitcoiners actually hold some eth, and if they don’t their friends would probably see them as cavemen.
Which brings us to a point we wanted to make about the DAO chain-split. ETC became a thing because the DAO fork was in a way a proxy “war” in the bitcoin “civil war.”
The small blockers had no hardforks ever as a key point of argument because they said it would lead to a chain-split and that’s bad. Big blockers thought it wouldn’t lead to a chain-split and forks are good.
Such fork of course was necessary to increase the 1MB limit. As it happened, big blockers were right forks are good because ethereum attracted so many global brands and price of course increased.
But small blockers proved their point too that it may lead to a chain-split, as then it did. And they somewhat effectively held that example against their own miners and community and so kept the 1MB.
Without this proxy angle, if the community does set aside their opinions and unites in abiding by the vote, then it is unlikely an ethereum classic classic would have much leg because they can just go to ethereum classic. If it does have some leg then it may be like the monero forks.
That is, no one might care because it is unlikely this fork would have another Barry Silbert as Silbert, or his company, now has some eth.
Of course, we can’t predict the future, but if the results at the time of writing are the final results and eth doesn’t fork, then of course it is for Parity to decide, but they might not have much choice but to chain-split and thus sort of ensure another ETC, or in this case Parity coin or just Parity with PAR as the ticker.
Because if the only objective measure says most are in favor, then the market must be given the choice. If eth wants to continue being conservative despite the will of the holders, then there should be an alternative that favors innovation.
That’s if the results are in favor at ~70%. They may well not be once the final results are in. If the results are against, then it’s a difficult decision. A collective decision. And we think a decision that should be respected by all.
Opinions are clearly varied, but we don’t think anyone holds one or the other in an absolute manner. There are recognizable names that are against, there are recognizable names that are in favor. Then there’s Jorge Izquierdo of Aragon who says:
“This incident helped us patch a couple of potential security threats in aragonOS and come up with a way to pretty much trustlessly shut down all Aragon DAOs in case of a major incident. Analysis derived from these black swans improve the security of all apps.”
Although we’re not sure where Izquierdo stands, that’s the strongest point in favor in our view. Mistakes happen, we learn from them. In the process, don’t severely punish innovators, don’t punish the pioneers, and don’t punish the noob.
That all said, if the vote was against, then one can easily say it is the exception that proves the rule. There are good arguments on both sides and it is a difficult decision. We of course have our own opinion, but now we’ll defer to you, the etherean people, and we’ll respect your decision whatever it may be.
That means this vote is, at least for us, very important. So please vote. Whether you are a dev, a dapps user, Vitalik himself or just some guy, with 1 eth or 1,000 eth, please vote (safely) and let your opinion known in the only objective and non-sylable way we have.