Crypto experts analyse Ethereum’s future following recent attacks and hard forks
Ethereum network suffered two major and rather back-to-back attacks this year. The first one occurred in June with the theft of nearly $60 million from The DAO, while the second took place in September when the Ethereum network was under a computational distributed denial of service attack (DDoS).
To undo the DAO hack, Ethereum underwent a hard fork in July, which lead to the creation of Ethereum Classic (ETC). Also, the network underwent another hard fork in October following the DoS attack.
Commenting on the recent hard fork, Shidan Gouran, angel investor, CEO of Gulf Pearl Ltd. & Home Jinni Inc. told EconoTimes that while the recent hard fork was unavoidable, there is a serious cause for concern with the Ethereum Foundation's development philosophy.
“Building a general smart contract platform should be treated like software development of critical infrastructure...Right now, it is being treated as a typical web development project by the foundation. Constant hard forking is not a viable solution”, Gouran said. “For example, Smart Contracts could have been written that were invalidated by the changes introduced in this hard fork. Luckily, since most smart contracts are currently experiments, the few that were affected by this fork seem to be small test programs. This is not a path to follow for being taken seriously and it can be an existential threat to Ethereum.”
He noted that there are sufficient interesting projects, like Augur and Golem, to keep the momentum of the Ethereum network going. However, Gouran added that the ecosystem has “to grow up or a more serious split in the community than the ETC fork will be inevitable.”
When asked about the future of the Ethereum ecosystem, Steven Nerayoff, Esq. LL.M., Lisk Advisor, Ethereum Senior Advisor, CEO of Cloudparc, said that he has a lot of confidence in the ecosystem.
“I believe that what lies ahead remains to be seen. There are enough projects on the drawing board and the ecosystem is large enough that it will likely survive. In addition, there are sufficient quantity of intellectuals who are leading the charge”, he said.
Rik Willard, Founder & Managing Director of Agentic Group LLC., told EconoTimes that the future of the Ethereum ecosystem may depend on how effective the community is in creating valuable applications that work.
“As everything is a Proof of Concept right now, I believe Ethereum is safe - and even necessary from an ecosystem perspective - for the immediate future. However, as other interesting ideas begin entering the decentralized platform race (such as Fermat), Ethereum will have to increase its consumer-facing and enterprise development to remain relevant”, Willard said. “Ethereum has taught us many lessons, including how to build in order to harden systems against attack, and how to respond to those attacks. Unfortunately, there are easy targets, such as Vitalik et al, that bad actors will find the most value in trying to exploit or take down”.
Hard fork and immutability
The July hard fork was highly debated across forums with primary focus on the “immutable” feature being compromised as a result of the fork. This essentially led to the creation of Ethereum Classic consisting of believers in the original vision of Ethereum.
“[T]he fact that immutability has been destroyed is definitely troubling. To some extent it erodes confidence because immutability is one of the main pillars of blockchain”, Nerayoff said. “I think the danger about this is that it sets a precedent about Ethereum on a slightly stronger position because its ecosystem has breadth to it, even more than Bitcoin’s. I am unsure on whether a smaller ecosystem would be able to weather the storm, but it will definitely grow over time.”
According to Nerayoff, it is quite interesting how Ethereum Classic has continued to survive and build a community. However, he noted that it has been a challenge to differentiate ETC from ETH.
“This is an alarming concept: will the real Ethereum please stand up? The reassuring part is that many purists remain who believe in immutability, enough that ETC will live on”, he added.