Note: The following is a story of the events that led to the survival of the original Ethereum chain after the hard fork related to The DAO incident was activated. The story is told from the perspective of the author.
Within hours of Ethereum’s hard fork to reassign funds away from the hacker who found a loophole in The DAO, the event was deemed a success by a wide-ranging group of individuals in the blockchain ecosystem. Ethereum creator Vitalik Buterin was popping champagne, and Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong was tweeting about the merits of hard forks as an upgrade mechanism for blockchains.
At the time, there were only a few holdouts who were interested in preserving what many thought to be Ethereum’s original social contract of unstoppable code. One of those holdouts was self-described crypto-anarchist Wiz.
On the 21st of July, I received a message from Wiz claiming he was impressed that Ethereum’s hard fork worked out. He then shared a photo of a block explorer showing that he was one of the top 25 Ethereum miners. I was a bit surprised to see the original chain die so quickly, as I had previously tweeted that I expected two chains to result from the fork.“I guess what we learned is that you just need to get the top five pools onboard and you’re good,” said Wiz.
At the time, those five pools made up over 90 percent of Ethereum’s network hashrate.
The former managing director of WizSec then questioned if Ethereum is basically centralized among ten people. “I guess if I grew my pool by 5x size, I could get in the top ten and at least have a voice,” he added. “But [I’d] still overwhelmingly be outvoted.”
At this point, I also pointed out that exchanges essentially blocked the voice of the Ethereum stakeholders who may have been against the hard fork. “There isn’t an easily found market price for ETHC right now because none of the centralized exchanges are allowing it to be traded,” I noted.