Ethereum Devs Call for Public Debate on Fund Recovery

A controversial proposal that would seek to alter how ethereum's developers approach software changes saw debate at a meeting Friday.

AccessTimeIconFeb 9, 2018 at 6:05 p.m. UTC
Updated Sep 13, 2021 at 7:33 a.m. UTC

Ethereum's more senior developers are calling for a public debate over what steps, if any, should be taken at the software level to return funds lost in high-profile hacks and incidents.

In a bi-weekly meeting Friday, the developers took sides over a controversial ethereum improvement proposal, EIP 867, which advocates for a method of returning funds to potential victims. As profiled by CoinDesk, the issue has emerged as a lightning rod due to the fact the proposal advocates using system-wide software upgrades as a possible fix.

It perhaps wasn't a surprise then that the meeting showcased the passions on either side of what is becoming one of the platform's more prominent arguments.

Still, others sought a more middle-ground solution, such as having a more public debate.

Ethereum developer Vlad Zamfir told attendees:

"These proposals, especially proposals that do set important precedents, that impact the relation of the community and the platform, I think need to be subject to a public debate that I'm not actually sure the EIP process is designed to handle."

In response, community manager Hudson Jameson agreed, stating his belief the debate should play out on social media. Likewise, independent developer Alexey Akhunov proposed a live video debate between developers.

Some struck a reserved tone to the idea, though.

Developer Piper Merriam warned that a live discussion was liable to become a "politician-based thing," stating that the debate should remain in written form. "Otherwise it's a popularity contest," he said.

As such, the comments hint at another component of the debate, one that has tackled the issue just what role developers should play in blocking proposals from public discussion.

EIP 867, for instance, is led by lesser-known developer Dan Phifer from Musiconomi, a startup that lost a substantial amount of ether in the Parity fund freeze last year.

EIP editor Yoichi Hirai originally rejected the proposal due to its failure to comply with what he described as "ethereum philosophy," however he is now adopting a more liberal approach to his role, stating that "the EIP repository is like Twitter."

"Everyone can say whatever they want and I merge everything," he said.

For now, no further action will likely be taken on the proposal until ethereum's process for accepting code changes, detailed in EIP-1, has been clarified.

However, Jameson said today that the current controversy had accelerated such efforts.

Silicon chip via Shutterstock


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