Hardforks: the Libertarian Option

Tsontar

New Member
Apr 9, 2016
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New post on /r/etherum that is sure to resonate with this crowd.

https://np.reddit.com/r/ethereum/comments/4p36ur/a_hardfork_is_the_libertarian_option/

Text copied here for ease of discussion:

What's all the fuss about?

The thief can keep his loot on his chain and individual users can choose to fork their chains and undo the thief's exploit.

A hard-fork is perfectly consistent with libertarian fundamentals so long as it's not forced on anyone - it's a choice every user/node makes.

There's no contracts being broken, no one is being forced to upgrade and fork, and no ones taking away anyones loot.

If you want to live on the chain where the thief controls 15% of the supply, you can. If you want to provide goods and services for his stolen loot, you can! Those of us who find this idea reprehensible, don't have to. As free libertarians, we can individually choose to upgrade our nodes and fork our local chains and undo the thief's exploit.

It's like if a bank robber manages to steal 15% of USD currency and we choose to use AUD instead. We're not stealing the bank robbers money by choosing to use another currency, he can keep his loot all he wants. And if you want to accept it for goods and services, you can! We don't have to, because we are free libertarians and choose not too. What's the problem?​
 

satoshis_sockpuppet

Active Member
Feb 22, 2016
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Of course anybody can do a hardfork. Who should prohibit that?

The question here is: Is a fork the right thing to do?

And I don't care for Ethereum and I think it should vanish either way; but a fork to rescue a few, risk taking, token holders wouldn't be a fork I would participate in. It is wrong.

And btw. I don't think any of that stuff has any relevance in regards to Bitcoins upcoming forks. It's a completely different topic.
Interesting for Bitcoin are the things we can learn from the disaster. First and foremost: KISS. And that it was a good idea to have a simple scripting language.
 

freetrader

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Staff member
Dec 16, 2015
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What's the problem?
I'll bite too.
I think a strong differentiation is required between a revisionist HF which rolls back transaction history and an envisionist HF which only affects transactions going forward. The former is described by A. Antonopolous as confiscation, and he is technically correct, even if it applies only to one universe (fork chain). I would argue that no matter how many of the current DAO/Eth crowd would benefit from such confiscation, it would erode trust in the platform. Who's next?

EDIT: I think we are seeing here a consequence of this digital money not being issued by an authority, and suddenly everyone has their concept of what this money should be like going forward, and while we all would like a solid monetary basis to society, we still have to acquaint ourselves thoroughly with the new reality that anyone can create their own money and that the value of this money could well be tied to certain ideas, which have a life of their own...
I don't think this is a new thing (e.g. Petrodollar) but it might become more pronounced. I'm not entirely sure that one form of digital money will dominate.
 
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cypherdoc

Well-Known Member
Aug 26, 2015
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you should do what you feel is the right thing to do. if that means a HF, go for it. everyone around here is for free choice.

the question is, will it work? is it the "right" thing to do in this situation? my assessment of the situation is that Ethereum is in trouble no matter which direction it takes; that's how bad the situation is regarding it's code and language and the political choices it made early on. but i could be wrong.

and i really don't care as it doesn't effect me in any way.
 

Zangelbert Bingledack

Well-Known Member
Aug 29, 2015
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To echo the points others have made, of course a hard fork is totally fine to offer and - although I'm ~95%* sure returning the coins is a terrible idea - if a prediction market can be set up for the fork it is still a great idea to do fork futures trading because then people can see that whichever option wins was indeed supported by the investors (especially if both survive the fork futures trading and we get to see which one wins in the long run, for a nice A-B comparison).

*my only reservation being the degree to which Ethereum seems to be understood by its investors as still in the planning stages... I have no idea why people invested so much in a system that still doesn't function in its intended way and whose grand design isn't even set yet, but hey, they did.
 

Tsontar

New Member
Apr 9, 2016
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I'll bite too.
I think a strong differentiation is required between a revisionist HF which rolls back transaction history and an envisionist HF which only affects transactions going forward. The former is described by A. Antonopolous as confiscation
Bitcoin has rolled back transaction history: 90+M coins were confiscated from a miner who mined a coin that was valid under the rules of Bitcoin at the time he mined it. FWIW.

No, it doesn't matter that the Bitcoin bug was a Layer 0 bug and this is a Layer 1 bug. The only relevant issue is that decentralized miner consensus voted with its hashpower to reject a transaction that was deemed toxic to miner consensus. Doesn't matter if the transaction contained 93M *currently valid* bitcoins or the payout from a broken *currently valid* contract, decentralized miners voting with their hashpower can choose to reject the transaction, and if the majority agrees, the transaction can be censored.

You guys think this is bad, but this is consensus in action, from where I sit.
 

cypherdoc

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Aug 26, 2015
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12,995
@Tsontar

aren't the circumstances different though? that 93M extra coins, if allowed to persist, would have destroyed Bitcoin itself and it's 21M promise. how does letting the DAO and it's investors fail destroy Ethereum as a direct effect?

remember, i don't care what you do as Bitcoin remains unaffected.
 

79b79aa8

Well-Known Member
Sep 22, 2015
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@Tsontar
good point . . . but to build on @cypherdoc's reply, one difference is that the bug in bitcoin was not, as far as we know, pervasive. whereas the bug in ethereum is -- it seems every single contract written for that platform could be made to execute in unintended ways. HF everytime?
 
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johnyj

Member
Mar 3, 2016
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When science has become religion, people has lost opion of individual judgement and free choice
 

Tsontar

New Member
Apr 9, 2016
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79
one difference is that the bug in bitcoin was not, as far as we know, pervasive. whereas the bug in ethereum is -- it seems every single contract written for that platform could be made to execute in unintended ways.
I don't think that's the case though. There are plenty of simple contracts that aren't going to just fall over - the problem with the DAO was that it was simply trying to bite off more than the network was ready to chew at this stage of Ethereum smart contracts.

CRAWL - WALK - RUN is the motto - the DAO tried to RUN before it had learned to CRAWL - failure was easy to anticipate if you are a seasoned dev and have watched the way the thing was rushed then hyped. Speaking of hype - any smart contract that consumes some significant percent of the entire money supply is fair game for being forked off the network if there's even the slightest hint of excess risk.

The DAO became a cancer: if the community decides to excise it, it's their right, and it'll be decentralized decision-making in action - just the thing we wished we had in Bitcoin.
[doublepost=1467061197,1467060581][/doublepost]
aren't the circumstances different though? that 93M extra coins, if allowed to persist, would have destroyed Bitcoin itself and it's 21M promise. how does letting the DAO and it's investors fail destroy Ethereum as a direct effect?
I don't agree with restoring the DAO. Either make investors whole, burn the coins, or let the thief keep them. If the DAO is restored then that's basically proof that the Layer 0 Ethereum mining network got captured by the Layer 1 DAO - exactly the risk that a fork (if it happens) will be mitigating.

We should realize that in a system that plans to go to POS later this year, having a belligerent actor with X% of the money supply might be an unacceptable risk.

I think if decentralized hashpower agrees that the DAO is toxic to the network it should be forked off.

I think if decentralized hashpower doesn't agree that the DAO is toxic then it essentially cannot be forked off the network.

IOW:

  1. if hashpower is decentralized
  2. then miners = users
  3. so if fork, then by the market's definition of value, the value of the coin will improve perforce
  4. and there will be much rejoicing, yay continuous improvement
This logic was the basis of why I got involved in Bitcoin years ago, and the destruction of it in our community is what makes Tsontar bipolar. Now I see it taking healthy root in Ethereum, and I'm more troubled than ever. I've had these discussions with Vitalik, it's my opinion he agrees with me, and there is every reason to believe the they are fostering the culture described above - HOWEVER they have yet to hit a contentious hardfork issue, so time will tell if their multi-implementation approach will lead them to greater decentralization or if there will Arise a Power in the East....
 
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cypherdoc

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Aug 26, 2015
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good luck @Tsontar with whatever you guys choose. i like to debate this theoretical stuff but don't wish any harm to any of you.
 
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