How to Follow the Ethereum Hard Fork as it Happens

Michael del Castillo
Jul 19, 2016 at 23:16 UTC
Updated Jul 20, 2016 at 15:39 UTC
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Update: The hard fork has occurred. Earlier estimates on when it would take place based on estimates for the time it takes to mine a block were off by about two hours. Click here to read our coverage of the event.


A rare event in the history of public blockchains is expected to take place today.

Following the exploitation of a major project, the ethereum development community is expected to create a new history of transactions that will disregard the disputed funds through a mechanism called a hard fork.

To pull off the feat, a number of hurdles have had to be crossed, leaving just this one remaining – the voting of the miners that today confirm transactions on the public blockchain. Assuming all goes well, the hard fork is expected to occur early Wednesday afternoon UTC.

For those unwilling to wait for the breaking news, we’ve put together a list of resources that members of the media are likely to turn to for their own coverage. (For more details and background, follow our extended coverage of The DAO and Ethereum here and here).

Countdown clocks

As mentioned previously, tomorrow’s hard fork of the etherum blockchain intends to return funds drained from the smart contracts that comprised The DAO.

But, when the technical changes that undoes this action will occur is less clear.

This is because action on the ethereum network will occur at a specific block on the blockchain, and the time it takes blocks to be mined fluctuates. Currently this total is around 14 seconds, but as it varies, the time it will take to reach the milestone block is also expected to change.

To keep track, some members of the community have programmed special clocks to count down to the event. Of the three clocks we’ve identified, only two were synced up within 20 seconds of each other at the time of publication.

The SlackNation counter has been widely sited on reports on on social media. Ethereum block explorer EtherScan is also widely used by industry participants, and offers its own hard fork countdown. A third clock also exists at TickCounter, though that clock is a full hour behind the other two.

For a somewhat regularly updating record of the node adoption at top mining pools — an important number to see which half of a hard fork is adopted, Reddit user econoar has been doing a pretty decent job a updated numbers at this link.

Blogs

Activity on blogs is also likely to be high.

For perspective, there are two blogs worth tracking with a rather high likelihood of posting valuable information both leading up to the hard fork and immediately following.

Since the DAO attack on 17th June Slock.it, the company that wrote the open-source code behind The DAO, has been regularly keeping its followers up to date with posts on their efforts. Most recently the company posted the actual specification being used for the hard fork there, and it will likely be publishing further updates through that channel.

Though the actual decision making process has been largely decentralized, Slock.it has been working closely with the Ethereum Foundation, the non-profit that manages platform development, to determine the solution they believed was mostly likely to be supported by the community.

As such, we’ll be watching here for updates on the official Ethereum Foundation blog.

Twitter

Ethereum co-founder and lead developer of the go-ethereum project, Jeff Wilcke is the author of the Etherum Foundation post on the hard fork and has been tweeting regularly about the event.

Slock.it’s lead technical engineer Lefteris Karapetsas is yet another frequent tweeter about The DAO hard fork.

However, it’s likely that interesting comments will be coming in from a variety of sources, guided by Twitter’s hashtag system. At press time, popular hashtags in use include #TheDAO, #Ethereum and #HardFork.

Wild cards

Another source worth keeping an eye on is the page EtherScan uses to track The DAO tokens. You can use this page to keep an eye on the balance in the account labelled, TheDarkDAO Balance, as well as the two accounts labeled WhiteHatDAO Balance.

Though there are several clients running the ethereum protocol, geth, the ehthereum client of the go-ethereum project was mentioned by name in the most recent Ethereum Foundation post on the hard fork. Click here releases to follow go-ethereum’s GitHub page.

If you enjoy being a fly on the wall or want to engage directly with those involved, the Ethereum Community Forum is a great place to visit.

But perhaps most improant to the hard fork is the Pool Discussion category, which is currently filled with conversations about the hard fork.

Man using telescope image via Shutterstock