Anger Grows at Ethereum Hardfork Timing


“Who the f*** decided to do a hard fork on a day that is an almost universal holiday?”

So says Jorge Izquierdo of Aragon, a Dapp for Decentralized Autonomous Organizations (DAO) running on ethereum’s blockchain.

In a set of public statements citing Ethereum Foundation’s announcement that the difficulty bomb delaying hardfork is expected on January 1st, Izquierdo said:

“Picking cool days is great when you are a core dev, but now someone from my team has to work on a day that they were free.”

This controversial fork, which changes the protocol rules in a way that technically increases issuance without any public consultation despite 70% of ethereans wanting an issuance reduction to 1eth, was at one point expected on Christmas day itself.

Just how the source of this expectation is calculating the date estimate is not too clear, so first let us try and estimate this before getting on with the rest.

Ethereum is currently at block 9,151,555. The fork is at block 9,200,000. Meaning there are 48,445 more blocks left.

The network is currently running at 17 seconds per block. That’s 823,565 seconds, or 9.5 days.

So that’s pretty much January 1st, at least for Europe and America with Australia too drunk already. However, a time increase kicked in on December 16th. It takes about two weeks for such increases, so around December 30th, although block times are now a bit slower.

In any event the next time increase is arguably far too close to make much difference, so arguably the estimate is roughly correct.

Meaning the entire ecosystem, which is finding out only now “officially,” has to make emergency contingencies to be on guard on New Year’s Day!

Last year, when issuance was to be reduced, they took the whole of December off because Christmas.

Now that the protocol is reducing issuance, they apparently thought it so incredibly important to stop this reduction to the point they did not even consider just what estimates are, or what buffers are, especially as they were setting a block number instead of a time.

Thus they thought it fit to set it so close to New Year’s Day that it may well end up being on New Year’s Day – sacred to many – instead of leaving some room.

Someone has to be fired over this because it’s atrocious handling of an incredibly sensitive matter.

The whole reason this entire space exists is so that you don’t just change issuance as you please, let alone over Christmas or New Year’s day, with no discussion and more importantly: who has even looked at this code?

Trust, but verify. Verify over Christmas dinner! Last time when there was plenty of room for a “people’s” audit, block times still somehow were reduced to 12 seconds from the average of 15 seconds.

How that happened or why is still unclear, with that seemingly small difference still translating to the minting of far more eth than was supposed to be minted.

Just a json config change, the Parity guy said , but this is a json config of money.

Changing parameters in a complex system can have unintended consequences which is why you have audits. In this case there’s not even a testnet! It’s not clear whether anyone has even run this fork code to ensure it does what it is meant to do.

Fire Miyaguchi

Aya Miyaguchi, the “managing” director at the Ethereum Foundation, must go in our view. She clearly has no idea what she’s doing. Plenty of eth devs have singled her out. She has to go.

Devs on the other hand are trying to do a pretty difficult job in at times intense circumstances with quite a lot of responsibility, so we give them considerable leeway as it takes a lot for us to criticize them.

Where Miyaguchi is concerned however it appears self evident she is not doing her job:

The announcement itself by Hudson Jameson had plenty confused. Not least because it mentioned “Istanbul node statistics” for a fork that has nothing to do with Istanbul, and not least because it does not even say what on earth this fork is.

Difficulty bomb or ice age is not mentioned once! We have a lot of Muir Glacier (what?), but the vibe basically is a copy paste of the Istanbul announcement with some small changes.

In some fairness to Jameson, he is a coder not a PR guy. The two positions are almost polar opposites, so that he would be very bad at PR is to be expected.

Yet that the Ethereum Foundation, which sold $100 million “basically at the top,” does not have a PR guy or girl, or a few of them, is not to be expected in any way.

They have brought in some “cat herders” – the name itself an insult. These are apparently “volunteers,” because the $100 million is presumably for space monkeys rather than professionals. Or semi-professionals at least.

We do have to mention the canary has gone from the website. They claim it is still at the EF website, but that site itself looks a bit like a trapping canary.

The whole point of a canary is you don’t move it. If one has to speculate whether the canary is maybe just sleeping, then it’s all a bit pointless.

Especially after you poke it and it still doesn’t move, which in this case would mean Miyaguchi still being a “managing” director.



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