One of the largest crowdfunding campaigns in history (outside of political campaigns) was The DAO – an investor-directed venture capital fund on Ethereum. The DAO was a decentralized autonomous organization and even though it had no managerial structure or board of directors, it eventually took in about $160 million in the form of Ether (ETH).
Many investors’ worst fears came true the day a hacker exploited a vulnerability in The DAO’s code and was able to drain one-third of its funds; about $50 million. This led to a debate in the Ethereum community about how to deal with the situation and eventually led to a hard fork, which returned the stolen funds to investors. The decision to hard-fork created a split among community members, and Ethereum Classic (ETC) was born.
This is where things got interesting: the hard fork made it appear as if the hacker never stole any ETH and investors were able to get a refund of their money. But some miners continued solving blocks on the older blockchain, keeping ETC alive and effectively creating an alternate universe in which the hacker still stole money. Luckily, a benevolent group of whitehat hackers, calling themselves the Whitehat Group (WHG), hacked the hacker and were able to secure about 7.2 million ETC tokens. The ETH/ETC split literally created new money out of nowhere, so not everyone is aware that they can still withdrawal their ETC funds from the Whitehat contract.
The WHG asked Bity SA, a Swiss-based fintech company, to organize the redistribution of the remaining ETC to The DAO investors. Bity undertook that endeavor for 6 months, and extended the Whitehat Withdrawal Contract until April 15, 2017. With that distribution period coming to an end, it’s time to claim your funds.
If you invested in The DAO, your investment is mirrored in ETC and you likely haven’t claimed your money, seeing as how there’s still about 1.7 million ETC at the withdrawal contract’s address. In fact, there are several withdrawal contracts, all with large balances. The DAO’s Main Withdraw Contract has over $20 million of ETH in it, the White Hat’s ETC Withdraw Contract contains over $4.7 million of ETC, and The DAO’s ExtraBalance Withdrawal Contract has over $5 million in ETH inside.
Developer Griff Green wrote a blog post explaining how to collect your funds. It involves running an older version of MyEtherWallet locally on your computer but shouldn’t be challenging, as long as you follow the blog’s instructions. There’s also an Ethereum wiki with clear instructions for withdrawing The DAO refunds.
Even if you are able to acquire DAO tokens, it can still be a bit daunting for the average user to interact with the blockchain and contracts. Griff Green has offered help to those seeking assistance. Sign up for the Giveth Slack at slack.giveth.io and message @griff if you have questions.