Bid to Blacklist The DAO Attacker Advances With Ethereum Soft Fork Vote

Mining pools have largely adopted a patch that would blacklist addresses connected to The DAO, the Ethereum-based funding vehicle, after its collapse.

AccessTimeIconJun 27, 2016 at 7:19 p.m. UTC
Updated Sep 11, 2021 at 12:21 p.m. UTC

The ethereum community is inching closer to blacklisting funds taken from The DAO.

Software patches were released late last week that, if accepted by a majority of miners, would place a hold on funds siphoned from The DAO earlier this month. Specifically, the patch would make it so that miners running the new software won’t be able to accept transactions from blacklisted addresses affiliated with the troubled fund.

The patch works by giving miners the opportunity to flag that they support the soft fork, and then use their clients to lower a metric called the 'block gas limit', which puts a cap on the amount of gas (an element of ethereum transactions) that can be included in a block.

Miners, which compete to add new transaction blocks to the network, can already change their own block gas limits, but in this specific case, the mechanism allows for a form of miner-based voting to be held on ethereum.

Once the network reaches block 1,800,000, if the overall network is below a threshold of 4m gas per block, the soft fork will activate.

A blog post published by the Ethereum Foundation frames the release as an alternative to more controversial changes to the network.

The post states:

"While many have suggested an immediate hard fork, the implications of such action are yet to be fully understood. An alternative suggestion was the creation of a soft fork allowing miners to temporarily put certain transactions on hold, attempting to recover the funds without any invasive action on the ethereum protocol itself."

is a project built on ethereum that, prior to its collapse, had raised more than $150m worth of the cryptocurrency ether in a bid to create a smart contract-based funding vehicle for other initiatives using the ethereum platform.

The ethers were raised through a crowdsale for publicly traded voting tokens that could be used to vote on different proposals.

However, owing to an element of its smart contract code, the funds were compromised, an event that sparked an effort to derail whoever was behind the incident. This has so far included steps by a group of ethereum developers to use the same exploit to relocate those funds.

Further, last Friday’s patch release came days after developers involved with ethereum began deliberating possible solutions to the issue.

Success seems likely

The release is being billed as a referendum of sorts on the question of forking the ethereum network in a bid to stymie those behind the recent attacks on the DAO. The idea of instituting a network change in the wake of the incident has sparked both support and criticism from stakeholders.

Data provided by indicates that many mining pools (groups that consolidate hashing power to increase their chances of mining the next block) have made the change, and if this trend continues, the soft fork is expected to take hold on 30th June. Some pools in the Ethereum ecosystem had already begun "voting" on the measure amid continued debate among community members about the idea.

One key caveat is that DAO token holders who had opted to use the smart contract code to break off into their own sub-organization will find themselves locked out as well.

However, the blog post indicated that future moves could include an additional fork to open up those accounts.

Image via Shutterstock


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