ECAF makes history today with its first ruling

in ecaf •  6 months ago

Today the EOS Core Arbitration Forum (ECAF) made history by issuing the first arbitral ruling on the EOS blockchain! To the best of our knowledge, this is also the first ever in the blockchain sphere.

The case

The case centred around a dispute on the ownership of an EOS account where the claimant alleged that they were victims of a phishing fraud that caused their account to be transferred without their consent at the time of EOS registration. This particular case involved one of the original accounts that were frozen at the launch of the EOS main net. Upon review of the case the arbitrator found in favour of the claimant and ordered that the account be returned to the claimant. More details of the case, the matters considered and the arbitrator’s ruling can be found here (

Why did it take this long?

Some in the EOS community have questioned why it took so long to issue the first ruling. For many in the community their first, and frequently only, contact with alternative dispute resolution tends to be with a dispute on credit card transactions or bank charges which are resolved fairly quickly. It is important to note that such a model does not easily translate to the EOS context where a sequence of events and process needs to be followed:

  • There is no on-chain based system for account to account communication. Therefore sufficient time needs to be built into the arbitration process to allow for any respondent to come forward
  • The cases being considered are complex legal issues that span multiple domains including different blockchains, jurisdictions and approaches to governance
  • EOS by its nature is not a centralised system where one single party (e.g. the bank or credit card company) has control over the information, evidence gathering and enforcement. These cases often involve cooperation across multiple parties in the EOS community from the claimants themselves, interested parties, the respondents and finally the EOS Block Producers (BPs) who are tasked with enforcing the arbitrator’s decision.

Complicating the above is the presently unfunded nature of ECAF which is currently a volunteer-driven effort. (ECAF has a fee structure and has started taking in fees, but because good practice is to refrain from disbursing fees until the conclusion of the case, the arbitrators have been working unpaid pending issuing final rulings.)

What next?

The ruling has been passed to the BPs who will be expected to utilise the eosio.wrap function to change the disputed account’s authorisation to the keys that the claimant has provided. At which point the claimant will gain possession of their account and will be able to transact with it as normal.

This first ruling has been much awaited by BPs and the community alike, and we hope that, barring problems with eosio.wrap, BPs will be able to enact the ruling in a reasonable timescale.

What more can we expect from ECAF?

This is the first of many rulings to come from ECAF’s arbitrators. With each ruling delivered we expect that we will improve our internal processes and hopefully become more efficient in doing so.

However, this is not possible without your assistance. If you’d like to learn more or support ECAF’s work then you can:

Posted by M Tabulo, ECAF Interim Administrator

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While I am in the dapp layer camp wrt arbitration well done making history! The experience you guys are gaining will be valuable to everyone wanting to improve blockchain governance. Great work

This is really good news. Very happy to see things moving along!