Ethereum Classic: An Update

7 months ago
63 in ethereum

Deus Ex

I wanted to draft a brief update on IOHK's efforts on Ethereum Classic (ETC). We've had the opportunity to schedule more than three dozen meetings with developers, community managers and academic institutions. We've also managed to have several long discussions with several of the community groups supporting ETC to get a better sense of commitments, goals and philosophy.

Overall, it's been a really fun experience getting to know a completely decentralized philosophical movement. It's also been illuminating to parse the challenges ahead for the fragile movement as it charts its own path forward. I'll break the report down into what we learned and what we are going to do.

What We Learned

Carlo Vicari and I have been trying to map out the total ETC community and also get some metadata about who they are (vocation, age, geography, interests...) so we can better understand the core constituencies. We will publish some preliminary stats sometime next week, but as a rough summary there are currently several meetup groups, a telegram group, a reddit, several Chinese specific hubs, a slack with over 1,000 members and a few other lingering groups.

Daily activity is growing and there is interest in more formal structure. With respect to developers, there are about a dozen people with development skills and knowledge of the EVM and solidity in the developer channel. They have been holding pretty deep discussions about potential directions and roadmaps. The biggest topics are currently pivoting consensus to PoW without the difficult bomb, new monetary policy and also safer smart contracts.

There is also interest in forming a pool of capital to pay for development efforts ranging from core infrastructure to DApps on top of the system. I haven't taken a position on this effort because we still need to address some governance and legal questions. Regardless of whether this pool materializes, IOHK's commitment of three full time developers will be funded solely by IOHK.

Democles

It seems that the price and trading volume of ETC has held relatively stable despite the virtual sword of damocles that is the DAO hacker and RHG funds. It seems that there is enough community interest in ETC to keep liquidity. I do think there will be tremendous volatility ahead and it's going to be impossible to predict when black swans are going to land in our laps, but I suppose that's what makes it fun?

IOHK's Commitment

After the initial conversations and analysis, we have determined the following serious deficits with ETC:

  1. There isn't an official or reliable channel of information about the events of the ecosystem or commitments of various actors. This reality has lead to FUD, impersonations and attempts at market manipulation in the absence of clarity.

  2. The roadmap of ETC needs to include at a minimum an emphasis on safety, sustainability and stability. There is a strong desire amongst the ETC community members we had discussions with to focus on reliable, high assurance applications that run on a network with proven fundamentals. Effectively, this needs to be the antithesis of move fast and break things.

  3. There is a desire amongst several well capitalized actors to donate capital to a pool to fund the growth of ETC. This desire has been complicated by the lack of a clear governance structure that will avoid fraud or misuse of funds. Furthermore an open pool would allow funds to potentially become tainted by RHG or Dao hacker donating funds to it. While code is law covers the protocol level use of funds, it does not shield actors from the legal realities of their actions. It is unclear how these funds should be treated or if accepting them would constitute a crime.

  4. The media is uncertain how to report on ETC outside of a referential curiosity to ethereum itself . There needs to be a re-branding and media strategy to ensure new users enter the ecosystem with a clear understanding of what ETC is about and how it differs from ETH.

  5. Concepts like the replay attack and also new potential technology that could be adopted are not fully understood by ETC community members or general developers. There needs to be actors dedicated to education and explanation.

  6. The Ethereum Foundation owns the Ethereum trademark. Further use of this branding could provoke a trademark infringement lawsuit to companies using the Ethereum brand and name. This complicates the formation of a centralized governance entity or steering committee if it chooses to use ethereum classic as its name. It also complicates business commitments to building on the ETC chain.

There are likely more problems, but these seem to be the most pressing for the time being. They are also compounded by the decentralized nature of the movement, which seems to be a boon for resilience, but a curse for agility. Given this fact, IOHK obviously cannot move unilaterally to address all of these problems; however, we can chart a course and invite the community to follow where they deem reasonable.

Thus IOHK is in the process of doing the following:

  1. We have interviewed several community manager candidates and will make our final selection sometime next week. He or she will be responsible for assisting meetup group founders, managing social media channels, broadcasting accurate information, combating FUD, collecting feedback from the ETC community and dealing with media entities. My hope is this position will be defined by its interactions with the ETC community and give us a starting point for timely and credible information at the very least.

  2. IOHK is going to subsidize an educator to produce content on ETC ranging from the replay attack to new proposals suggested in various roadmaps. We have one candidate in mind and are finalizing the contract and duration of the relationship. All content will be released under a creative commons license and our hope is to again let this role be community driven.

  3. IOHK has had numerous discussions with academic partners about the consensus algorithm of ETC and also the smart contract model. We would like to see if the EVM can be improved to be more secure and that Typescript and Purescript could be used as ETC's smart contract languages representing both a functional and imperative approach to development that maps nicely onto the skillsets of existing developers. We are seeing what types of partnerships are possible in the next few months and will provide an update.

  4. We've also spent quite a bit of time looking at Smart contract languages on the horizon. There are some excellent ideas coming from Synereo and Juno's Hopper. IOHK has entered into a partnership with Kent University to begin an analysis of Transaction Languages used in cryptocurrencies. We will have a survey report available sometime in Q4 of 2016. This report will form the basis of our organization's understanding of the interplay of smart contracts in cryptocurrencies. Once available we will release it to the general public as a whitepaper.

  5. We have decided that Scorex 2 will make a good base to build our ETC Main Client (Read Alex's First Blog on It). The core is going through a massive refactoring that will be finished sometime this month. From this point, we will retain a scala specific team (our three developer commitment) to fork Scorex 2 and build a full ETC Node including a wallet with GUI. The architecture of Scorex should allow for much faster iterative improvements and also a great opportunity to test our new blockchain specific database IODB .

  6. With respect to the developer hires in particular, we have taken quite a few resumes already, but also want to make the process open to the general public. Our new community manager will post the job ad on the ETC reddit once he's been hired. I expect the first developer to be announced sometime in September. Quality scala developers with the requisite skills to make meaningful contributions to Ethereum are rare and require careful vetting.

  7. With respect to a technological steering committee to guide the roadmap process, we are proposing the formation of a federated group tentatively called the smart contract engineering taskforce (after the IETF). Ideally we could develop an RFC process to propose improvement proposals from the community without the need for a formal, centralized entity. We'd love to see this form as a DAO. There could be two tracks covering changes requiring forks and changes that are iterative in nature. We will start the discussion about this group sometime in early October.

  8. IOHK cannot resolve the trademark issue, but will make a commitment to not use the Ethereum brand or name in its repos or company assets. This said, we would like to see some form of bilateral resolution to this situation. It seems pyrrhic to seek trademark enforcement on a decentralized movement. We also understand the confusion this issue is causing the general public and developers.

Overall, it's been a great two months and I look forward to the next few to see ETC continue to grow and become a strong, stable cryptocurrency. I'd like to thank the awesome community and all their help. I'd also like to thank the people who had enough patience to talk with Carlo and me despite the long meetings.

======
Edit: Special Shout out to the Ethereum Classic Russian Community: https://ethclassic.ru/

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33
  ·  7 months ago

Thanks, Charles. Keep up the good work!

57
  ·  7 months ago

Overall, it's been a really fun experience getting to know a completely decentralized philosophical movement.

Very interesting how the two version of Ethereum have different valid philosophies. Which would you buy, one where the community values socially implemented justice, or immutability with a focus on responsible programming.

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63
  ·  7 months ago

Thats a really good way of putting it. Thanks I'm totally going to use this in interviews

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57
  ·  7 months ago

awesome thanks. By the way I'm not sure which I prefer.

27
  ·  7 months ago

Thanks for keeping us updated Charles, tbh everything sounds great apart from the Name change. One thing I would say is considering we know a fork is inevitable and how contentious that will be regardless of it's reasoning, can we try to do as many critical changes as possible at one time eg. name change/POS etc? Your commitment and involvement via IOHK and also your personal time and effort, gives me hope & faith that we can make ETC a truly decentralized and immutable chain of governance & finances etc.

On a completely separate note i read an article Barry Silbert posted a few days back about the 10 most influential in the blockchain world/community, you were not in it and Barry was lol. No disrespect to him but i don't think anything he will do will ever change the world, on the other hand you could quite possibly do that @ some point. I have a lot of faith and belief in you, don't know exactly why or for what 1 reason, you don't even get half the credit you deserve. Everything happens for a reason so you will be rewarded @ some point that i'm sure. Again keep up the good work man, ur a legend in my eyes.....

31
  ·  7 months ago

Nice work to the team !
Atm a lot of new ICO/Altcoin borns using the ETH protocol, but as ETC popularity is growing, some new projects are showing up... like Borg DAO which is building on ETC network (http://borgdao.org/).
Keep going and good luck

50
  ·  7 months ago

I only mine ETC with my 300 mhs. Im piling up ETC... I know its time will come.....

26
  ·  7 months ago

I dont know if this a good idea, but its a thought. If you wanted to change the name, I would say try to keep the same initials (ETC) but change the name around it.
Random example: Electronic Testing Club , maybe with some better brainstorming you could come up with something clever.

25
  ·  7 months ago

IOHK, IOHK, IOHK everywhere.. I dont like. sorry!

26
  ·  6 months ago

ETC for life! Solid update @charleshosk! Looking forward to the next one already!

25
  ·  6 months ago

RE:8
Ethereum is trademark name only. (They were not awarded rights to the image.)

Serial Number - 86634529
Word Mark - ETHEREUM
Status688 - Notice Of Allowance - Issued
Status Date - 2016-05-17
Filing Date - 2015-05-19

As I understand it, prior usage would be excluded this from being enforced. I have several domains which are "ethereum" in name and registered on or around 2014-03-19. Being a full fourteen months beforehand, it is hard to think that the foundation has a legal right to have them seized.

Ethereum is named after the ether that is all around us. No one owns the atmosphere! The foundation must be huffing C4H10O if they think they can just take back permission of usage. If they want to fork for bailouts, then the burdon of rebranding should be on the foundation. They can call it "Ethereum: Enterprise Edition" while the community who supports the unmolested fork can use "Ethereum Classic" or simply "ethereum" without the capital E, because it is not propper anymore.

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25
  ·  6 months ago

BTW: the enforcement of trademark usage is based on similar industry. Perhaps ETC files its own Trademark as providing the public a service. Like a p2p church, or some social organization. What are we really trying to do here? Code for the sake of measuring (like some idiot savant locked in his room)... or actually facilitate social change through technological support? Because (imho) dapps and social contracts are color TV in the radio age of the internet.
Speaking of support, the messageboard does not seem to be sending email confirmations. I am telling you b/c i got here from the main site. thnx

25
  ·  6 months ago

New Name ETC = ETHER CLASSIC .
Active on Ethereum Blockchain , it's simple .

54
  ·  6 months ago

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