It’s Time for the Ethereum Community to Mature

I began investing in Bitcoin in 2011, as I believed that Virtual Currency held significant promise. By the time of the Ethereum Initial Coin Offering, I had become confident that blockchain technology and self-executing unstoppable code could rewrite the balance of power between the haves and the have-nots. I was particularly impressed by the vibrancy and unity of the Ethereum community.

Over the past few years, I have become disillusioned by the Bitcoin community because its members appear to have lost their way. Rather than seeing Bitcoin as a democratic vehicle for change, the individuals and companies that focus on Bitcoin are progressively acting like the big banks that I have sued on behalf of consumers in my many years as a class action lawyer. Rather than working to ensure that a thriving ecosystem is available for everyone who wants to participate, the Bitcoin community seems more interested in protecting its existing fiefdom than supporting the ecosystem. Because I abhor unnecessary anti-competitive behavior, I have sold much of my Bitcoin overtime and used those funds to purchase Ether.

Recent events have caused me to become increasingly concerned that the Ethereum community is falling into a similar pattern as has occurred with Bitcoin. The Ethereum hard fork has caused a division within the community. While I do not believe the division is as wide as it is portrayed in articles, blogs, etc., this division is real. I’ve read about threats from the pro-ETH community of a 51% attack that aims to destroy ETC, and of people suggesting the Ethereum Foundation should dump the million or so ETC it holds in order to tank the price of ETC. On the flipside, I see many comments where pro-ETC individuals argue that ETC should be used to try and hurt ETH. Frankly, I hope that both ETH and ETC live long and prosper.

I assume that the individuals on both the ETH and ETC sides of the hard fork are good, well-meaning people, and there is ample evidence to support my view. On the one hand, the ETC supporters believe that the blockchain can never be altered. The blockchain is a virtual, real-time, permanent ledger that is verifiable by anyone, anywhere, which implies immutability. By rejecting the hard fork and supporting the original blockchain, the pro-ETC community is supporting the values that people must honor their promises and live by the commitments that they make. I support their belief in the importance of these honorable qualities. On the other hand, the ETH supporters believe that something needed to be done because the DAO code was never intended to allow for a bad actor to gain control of Ether that belonged to others. Their view was that justice would be served if the Ethereum community could take action to allow for the return of the misappropriated Ether to its rightful owners and also deprive the exploiter of his/her/their ill-gotten gains. I agree with the ETH community that we have an obligation as human beings to do justice when we can.

I have read the angry and cynical comments suggesting that the hard fork was implemented primarily to protect whales or insiders. I have seen no actual evidence of this in any posting. I have also read a lot of the vitriol arguing that blockchains are designed to fork, and that they do so every time there is a change to the core software, such that the recent hard fork was not a major event. Yes, blockchains have to fork to upgrade the software, but doing so is different than forking to alter entries that were written into the blockchain previously. From what I have witnessed, the Foundation with Buterin at its helm, has exercised a great deal of rational thought in its decision making process, and I have not seen any evidence that it has chosen self-interest over the betterment of the Ethereum community as a whole.

My company has invested significant resources into the development of to insure that the Ethereum community has a comprehensive and thoughtful news site. As long as both chains exist, our news site will cover both ETH and ETC news, and are in the process of setting up ETC Live on our site as an accompaniment to ETH live. We have picked up the domain name and we will point it to ETHNews, which will encompass all Ethereum related news, will appeal to both the Ethereum Core and Ethereum Classic communities. Additionally, we have been investing substantial resources in DAPPs and we plan to continue to do so. We plan to make our DAPPs work with both blockchains. 

As is no doubt clear by now, in my opinion, there is no need for the Foundation to take sides at this time and it should work to offer POS and all other platform changes to both chains. Why not do whatever is within its power to see both chains succeed? There will undoubtedly be individuals who prefer to have their contracts on a blockchain that has always kept its core promise of immutability, while others will prefer to have a chain that grew out of a desire to protect innocent parties from inappropriate conduct. In either case, it is unlikely these individuals will destroy one of the chains, as there are many participants in the Crypto world like me who will be more than happy to have their work succeed on one or both chains. I for one am excited to see how these two chains develop and grow, and I intend to work to insure that they both succeed.