Parity Urges 'Rescue' Fork to Reclaim Frozen Millions

Parity Technologies has just released a proposal for reclaiming the millions in ether frozen last month due to a fault in its code.

AccessTimeIconDec 11, 2017 at 11:10 a.m. UTC
Updated Sep 13, 2021 at 7:15 a.m. UTC
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Parity Technologies has published an update on its efforts to reclaim funds lost in a high-profile coding error that occurred on ethereum last month.

In a blog post published today, the U.K.-based company published the results of its research into the issue, suggesting as many as four such protocol changes are currently under review as possible fixes, all of which would require changes to the ethereum software all users run. At the time, $275 million-worth of the cryptocurrency ether became inaccessible to their owners.

Given the stakes, Parity sought to galvanize community support for a plan to "rescue" the funds in the post, appealing to those who run the software for the change.

While acknowledging a decision would ultimately be up to the community, Parity said its preferred fix would be made via protocol changes to the ethereum virtual machine (EVM). According to the blog post, this would be a "functional enhancement to the platform" that would both restore the lost funds and protect against similar cases in future

The company wrote:

"No one should be under any illusion that unlocking these stuck funds would be anything other than a rescue operation – and would only be possible with a hard fork.".

The company's positioning of the news also sought to stress the idea that the company can't act unilaterally to recover the funds. A sign of the early stages of the process, it has also yet to document the idea as an ethereum improvement proposal (EIP), the official code patches for the platform.

As previously detailed by CoinDesk, EVM protocol changes are a contentious solution.

Speaking at the time, the idea was criticized by ethereum developer Nick Johnston, who said it would "change an important invariant" in the EVM, potentially leading to "unexpected bugs, even in already-deployed contracts."

The post documents two other potential fixes, including an amendment to the existing ethereum improvement protocol, EIP 156, and an "address specific" Parity fund rescue.

In the time since the fund freeze, the Parity debate has triggered discussions reminiscent of the DAO hack of last year, in which hard fork contention spawned a competing cryptocurrency named ethereum classic (now valued at $1.7 billion), though on a smaller scale.

The Parity blog post concludes:

"It is our hope that the community would get behind a rescue of these funds to help all the users that we can."

Correction: This article has been updated to better highlight source material.

Edit: This article has been updated to reflect the latest estimate of the funds frozen, from $160 million to $275 million.

CoinDesk is following this developing story.

Broken glass image via Shutterstock


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