Ethereum Blockchain Split Avoided?

After a weeklong voting process and several meetings between the top developers at Ethereum, the current debate surrounding resurrection of disabled parity contracts has apparently come to an end. The majority voted ‘no’ to the measure of restoring more than $260 million in lost coins due to technical problems within buggy contracts.

A Contentious Issue

Alex Van De Sande, one of the developers for Ethereum noted that the issue had split the community into two. He believed that if the network implemented EIP 999, it would have led to a hard fork for the cryptocurrency.

There was a great deal of support for the change in the code. The move was led by Parity Technologies, an Ethereum software company created by the Ethereum co-founder Dr. Gavin Wood in 2015. The wallet operated by the company had been impacted by the fund freeze that took place last year when users detected vulnerability in the Ethereum code.

Supporters had argued that implementing the EIP 999 would not have caused a split as plenty of users were in favor of the change. Afri Schoedon and Jutta Steiner from the Parity software company had urged client developers to implement the change. The Parity software is very popular and used by almost one-third of the Ethereum network.

The group opposed to the change was led by Geth, the leading Ethereum software on the network. Péter Szilágyi, the lead developer of Geth, disagreed with the Parity delegation and believed that the proposed change to Ethereum would create a split.

The Competition between Geth and Parity

Geth and Parity are the biggest competing software companies on the Ethereum network. Both the firms often have to work together to implement new changes and updates on the platform. By keeping up to date with the changes implemented by each other’s software, both the companies remain in sync and use the same blockchain.

It was interesting to note that both the leading software companies held such conflicting views on the issue of parity. This could point to deeper problems for the network in the future.

For example, if one group chooses to implement the changes in EIP 999 code and the other doesn’t, Ethereum could split into two different blockchains, similar to the hard fork that took place for Bitcoin last year.

The Vote

Last year, the code library operated by Parity was hacked of around 150,000 Ethereum. The network froze the ETH funds and Parity developers began working on an Ethereum Improvement Proposal (EIP) that could implement a way to unblock the funds.

EIP 999 was presented on 4th April as a way to restore the WalletLibrary by a patched version which would allow owners of the wallet to regain access to their assets. The patch would have also allowed other wallet operators a way to access frozen funds.

The motion to implement the change received 300 “yes” votes against 330 “no” votes. 9 votes chose “don’t care”.

The debate about returning hacked or stolen funds over the blockchain network has been around since the DAO hack of more than $60 million that took place in June 2016. There are many enthusiasts who believe that there should be a way for operators to restore the funds. However, many crypto enthusiasts believe that return of fund through a fork should not be used in any case.

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