Brain Freeze? Parity Bug Continues With No Easy Solution in Sight

weeks and counting …

That’s how long it’s been since a mishap by ethereum wallet provider Parity saw $160 million in cryptocurrency code frozen, and still no solution has been pursued to free up the funds. But that’s not to say discussions aren’t ongoing on how to return the cryptocurrency to its rightful owners.

At times heated, an escalating debate is developing on public chat channels about how to best correct the issue, and more notably, how to avoid resetting the history of the entire ethereum blockchain in what amounts to a network-wide software update to do so.

Hosted on GitHub, one public channel that has seen notable activity was created by ethereum’s developer team to discuss proposals for reviving ether stuck in smart contracts. (Lost assets of this type occur with some frequency, such as when users send funds to non-existent wallets.)

But the conversation around Parity is evolving differently, in part due to the scope of the fund loss and the politics inherent in the decision-making.

As occurred after last year’s infamous DAO hack, the incident has helped revive the debate about whether ethereum’s development is too centralized and its blockchain really immutable, meaning all transactions are final and cannot be rearranged to correct human error.

This is largely because, in response to the DAO, new software was written and approved by the network’s stakeholders to effectively rewrite its blockchain history. The move sparked contention and critique, even spawning an alternative blockchain, ethereum classic, now valued at $1.7 billion.

And though the Parity hack is jumpstarting the difficult conversation again, there’s been a change in sentiment regarding whether this is indeed the best way to resolve massive hacks.

As one particularly vocal participant wrote on the recovery channel:

“If Ethereum Foundation needs to do a hard fork every three months to 12 months in order to move funds around, we’re using Bank of Ethereum.”

Not quite another DAO

However, while the political tensions are reminiscent of The DAO, there are some key differences between the two attacks. For one, while the DAO funds were stolen, Parity’s funds have been made inaccessible due to an exploit that forced the wallets to self-destruct…

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