Coinbase Co-Founder Cautions Against Ethereum Hard Fork

Digital currency exchange operator Coinbase is weighing in on the ongoing crisis in the ethereum community over the fate of The DAO.

AccessTimeIconJun 21, 2016 at 6:41 p.m. UTC
Updated Apr 10, 2024 at 3:14 a.m. UTC
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Digital currency exchange operator Coinbase is weighing in on the ongoing crisis with The DAO, the distributed autonomous organization (DAO) that recently saw millions in customer funds seized by an unknown individual or individuals through a code exploitation.

In statements to CoinDesk, Coinbase co-founder Fred Ehrsam said that he would prefer that ethereum’s developers avoid making changes to the blockchain platform’s code that would find them changing protocol rules to rescue customer funds. The comments are notable given Coinbase’s vocal support for the ethereum platform and ether, the native digital currency it added to its GDAX exchange in May.

In remarks, Ehrsam reiterated his past public statements on the issue, but cautioned that the ethereum platform is still in its early stages, and that as such, The DAO should be viewed as both a learning experience and a "reality check".

Ehrsam told CoinDesk:

"We should learn to live with those mistakes because people will write poor smart contracts in the future and we can't fork each time."

In spite of the recent turmoil, Ehrsam said that his view of the strength of the ethereum development community and ether market remains unchanged.

"It shows that it's hard to write secure smart contracts," he said.

The comments come amid a larger debate in the ethereum community on the actions that should be taken to protect customer investments now that The DAO has been compromised.

Options include either a hard or soft fork, the latter of which would find the ethereum protocol being updated so that any spending from a contract associated with The DAO would be deemed invalid.

Alternatively, the development community could pursue a hard fork that would potentially reverse actions taken by the attacker. However, this would come at the cost of the developers over-exercising what some believe is their authority to implement changes on a decentralized network.

Coinbase image via Facebook

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