Hard fork Ethereum to revert the hack of The DAO
This petition made change with 1,067 supporters!
A large proportion of the Ethereum community invested ETH into "The DAO". Investments were so numerous in fact that 14% of all ETH were deposited, far more than had been expected or planned for.
On June 18th an attacker began exploiting a vulnerability in the code of The DAO to siphon off invested funds using a bug that went unnoticed because smart contract coding is such a new discipline, which was even missed by a professional security audit performed prior to launch. Luckily the design of The DAO has resulted in these funds being temporarily stuck in child replicas. Nonetheless, without action the attacker will eventually secure a very large amount of ETH. This is of concern to the wider Ethereum community, not just those who have investments directly at stake (disclaimer: I did not personally invest).
A hard fork provides a means to freeze The DAO and its children and return invested funds to those who hold tokens - without rolling back any unrelated transactions. The argument against a hard fork is that it undermines the essence of what a smart contract is meant to be: cold hard logic that can be guaranteed to execute without the interference of human hand.
For such reasons, execution of a hard fork to recover the funds is a bitter pill. However, there are the following compelling arguments for doing it:
- Ethereum is less than a year old. Extraordinary actions taken now to protect the fledgling network from an extraordinary event do not set an eternal precedent.
- Bitcoin itself hard forked (in August 2010 when it was significantly older than Ethereum) to address a protocol bug that allowed infinite bitcoins to be created. The hack of The DAO was not an Ethereum bug but such risky mass actions and code vulnerabilities will be far rarer in the future and this problem was equally related to the network being at a nascent stage of development.
- A hard fork is really a protocol change. The protocol is nothing less than an expression of the ultimate consensus of the decentralized community. If the community wishes to adopt a protocol change in extremis to address a clear and present danger to its network, then this is arguably justified.
If you sign this petition, that means you are convinced by the foregoing arguments and wish to see this hack reverted - as much as it can be - by the hard fork process described below. Furthermore, you wish to see this fork implemented at the earliest possible date to address the great uncertainty currently felt by many in the community.
Vitalik Buterin has already expressed his support for a hard fork here.
Gavin Wood has described a process where a soft fork first freezes The DAO and its children and then a hard fork is created that gathers the ETH to be refunded. We suggest that if the community can be coordinated in time the soft fork occurs on the 23rd of June and the hard fork on the 27th of June. Gavin has a document describing the process here.
There is currently widespread support for a hard fork among Ethereum figures. This message will be periodically updated with additional information. Please check back.
Finally, whatever happens, go Ethereum!
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