In a recent episode of Coin Interview, RSK’s Gabriel Kurman shared the company’s thoughts on Ethereum’s hard fork for the purpose of bailing out DAO token holders. RSK is an upcoming sidechain to Bitcoin that has been compared to Ethereum.
“Immutability should always be protected,” said Kurman when the hard fork related to The DAO came up during the interview. “It’s probably one of the most important assets of blockchain technology.”
While Kurman added that a large number of companies and brains need to be working on smart contracts and RSK views the developers behind Ethereum as their peers, he went on to explain the specific issues that he and the rest of the RSK team saw with the hard fork.
RSK’s Issues with Ethereum’s Hard Fork for The DAO
In short, RSK views immutability as having the utmost importance. When it comes to making changes to a cryptocurrency, RSK does not believe changes should be made at the base protocol level to fix an issue between users of the cryptocurrency.
“We were very sad when we saw the decisions that the Ethereum Foundation took on the fork,” said Kurman. “[This was] not because hard forks cannot be implemented, [although] they definitely should try to be avoided as much as possible and only be used when there’s no other option. In particular, when you’re trying to modify or suggest a modification for a problem between users, that for us is unacceptable.”
After a bug in The DAO’s smart contract was exploited by a hacker, a majority of the Ethereum community decided to hard fork the blockchain in an effort to invalidate the results of the execution of that smart contract’s terms. To this day, the Ethereum website claims, “Ethereum is a decentralized platform that runs smart contracts: applications that run exactly as programmed without any possibility of downtime, censorship, fraud or third party interference.”
The original Ethereum chain that did not follow the hard-forking bailout for The DAO is now known as Ethereum Classic. Ethereum Classic’s market cap is currently less than 5 percent of Ethereum’s market cap.
“We made a very firm commitment to the community that we will never fork or suggest a fork to solve an issue such as The DAO,” Kurman later added. “This is a market thing. It’s among privates, and the blockchain should never be modified for that reason.”
Hard Forks are Not the Problem
RSK’s disagreement with the hard fork related to The DAO does not mean they are against all hard forks; however, they feel this sort of upgrade mechanism should be viewed as a last resort.
“Forks should only be included to fix bugs or to improve the platform to make it grow in the future – but never in a situation such as The DAO,” said Kurman.
“The problem with the fork was basically changing the rules and going back in the chain in order to modify a transaction that happened, which was the actual hack,” Kurman added. “This is what we’re in philosophical terms against. We just thought it was a poor decision.”
Skeptical of Ethereum’s Move to Proof-of-Stake
While RSK did not agree with the decision to hard fork to bailout DAO token holders, they understood why the idea was supported by the Ethereum community.
“We understand the reasons,” said Kurman. “We know that Ethereum wants to move to proof-of-stake, which is something that has never been proven. And when you’re in a proof-of-stake blockchain, then having a hacker taking 15 percent of your tokens it’s a major problem.”
“This is one of the reasons we’re very skeptical of proof-of-stake,” added Kurman.