The EOS Core Arbitration Forum’s (ECAF) caseload has grown to over 900 cases and new cases continue to stream in weekly. Unfortunately, the resolution of cases has slowed down to a crawl due to difficulties experienced in the EOS main-net Community. Dispute resolution on the EOS main-net is therefore not working as expected.
In particular, a vocal proportion of EOS main-net Block Producers (BPs) have publicly postured to reject all future emergency actions, and have generally indicated that they are not willing to enforce any future ECAF arbitral awards. This is to the point of breaking the EOS Constitution and has led to the current Constitutional deadlock between BPs and ECAF.
ECAF has been operating as a volunteer-run organisation with the expectation that it would fund itself through fees charged for its services once rulings were delivered. Being purely volunteer-run was never intended to be the long term mode of operation. Having no clear route to the enforcement of many of its rulings means that ECAF is being effectively defunded which, in turn, means that it is extremely difficult for ECAF to sustain operations at the level demanded by the claimants.
Effective immediately ECAF will take the following steps to manage its caseload.
No new cases requiring Emergency Action
BPs utilise a so-called blacklist to freeze accounts whose ownership is contested. Blacklisting requires that every single BP in the top 21 maintains a table of accounts that are not allowed to transact pending a further decision. Any mistakes in keeping this table up to date means that funds that are supposedly frozen are free to be siphoned off. This has, in fact, happened several times over the last 8 months. ECAF spoke out against the practice of blacklisting multiple times and requested BPs to move to a BFT compliant 15/21 nulling of the keys but this has been up until recently ignored. ECAF takes note that some BPs are now proposing to secure the current accounts on the blacklist in this manner and hope that common sense prevails and that this proposal is adopted.
However, with more than one BP publicly stating that they will not enact further blacklists then ECAF has no choice but to completely cease processing of emergency account freeze requests.
No processing of Lost Key cases
In December 2018 ECAF delivered a ruling ordering the return of a Lost Key account to its rightful owner. The ruling was not enacted and requests to the BPs to engage in dialogue to understand what issues they had with the ruling mostly went unanswered. Since that time several BPs have proposed an automated solution to process Lost Key cases that largely mirrors the process that was followed in the original ruling.
ECAF is happy for the affected accounts and hopes that this initiative is successful. However, as a result, ECAF notes that it is no longer tenable to process Lost Key cases and will cease to do so.
Any person who has submitted fees for a Lost Key case and who seeks to withdraw their case from consideration may apply for a refund of the fees. Fees will generally be refunded less costs for any work done on the case to date.
Unassigned cases will be closed after 3 months
Cases are formally accepted by ECAF for Arbitration upon assignment of an Arbitrator and the collection of any relevant Arbitral fees and deposits. Where a case has not been accepted by the forum for a period of 3 months after filing then that case will be automatically rejected for lack of an Arbitrator. This will free the claimants to consider alternate paths to pursue their claims. Claimants will also have the option to resubmit the case if they so wish.
As cases will not have been accepted by ECAF and no fees collected then no refunds will be due.
Priority will be given to closing the cases on the current blacklist
Processing priority will be given to closing the cases on the current blacklist. Thereafter next priority will be given to cases that are already assigned.
While it saddens ECAF and its Arbitrators to take the above steps we note that we see no other alternatives to managing the current cases in the face from well-funded opposition to ECAF’s operation.
A set of answers to possible questions is included below. This will be updated over the next 5 days as additional frequently asked questions come up.
Q. Will ECAF still accept new cases not in the above categories?
Yes. Claimants are however requested to note that routes that require BP enforcement may not be available.
Q. I would like to withdraw my case. Will I get a refund?
Please email a request for a refund in response to the email with your original case filing. Refund requests will be treated on a case by case basis. Where a refund request is approved it will be less any costs attributable to the case and for work done to date.