Redditors are up in arms following yet another delay of “Constantinople,” the much anticipated Ethereum hard fork/update/whatever. On Tuesday, a last-minute report by security firm ChainSecurity scuppered plans for the fork after finding a so-called “re-entrancy” vulnerability that would expose the network to thieves. Following the news, Ethereum miners scrambled to roll out provisional upgrades to minimize the fallout.
On r/Ethereum, the mood was sour. Fuming “FaceDeer” expressed disappointment that the Ethereum devs had apparently failed to apprehend the chaos caused by the previous delay with an automated warning system, or “oracle,” that would have alerted miners algorithmically (rather than via, say, Decrypt). Last October, a “testnet” version of the fork had been delayed on different grounds, with devs at the time saying that not enough miners had bothered upgrading to it. (“Note for later: never fork on weekends,” dev Afri Schoedon had written.)
Yet this time, profit margins were at stake. One miner, “Ohopton,” was distraught that a hasty implementation of a so-called “hotfix” to swiftly remove the bug contained “untested releases,” risking his/her commercial operations. Ethereum dev Peter Szilagyi clarified that those changes were due in a week or so anyway.
Hand-wringers argued that Ethereum Improvement Proposal 1283, the infected portion of the upgrade, should be aborted altogether. They said that fixing the proposal—designed to reduce operating costs, or “gas”—would be overcomplicated. Yet contrarians were quick to challenge this, saying that aborting 1283 would prove more overcomplicated.
To some, this would pose a risk to Ethereum’s already-declining price. Constantinople, designed to shrink Ethereum’s “block rewards” by 33 percent—which would reduce the speed at which new coins are minted—is necessary to stymie further inflation. Failure to do so previously, according to retail investor “AgregiouslyTall” [sic?], is partly responsible for the recent drops in Ethereum’s price.
It wasn’t the hottest take. “The entitlement of 'investors' really bothers me,” harrumphed “whuttheeperson.” “Like, these people are busting their ass to make the best Ethereum system possible, and the hanger's [sic] on are demanding this or that, with no respect to the technical consequences.”
On Twitter, “Bitcoiner” Udi Wertheimer framed it differently:
5 board members of "Ethereum", a publicly traded $12B company, announced today on a conference call that the planned retirement of 33% of uninssued stock has been delayed indefinitely https://t.co/MBloQVuti8
— Udi Wertheimer [Bitcoin Noob] (@udiWertheimer) January 15, 2019
But maybe it’s just venting. “Ohopton,” the disgruntled miner, got back to us with a more sober take. “It doesn't affect us really apart from the slight inconvenience of having to reconfigure our [mining hardware],” he said. “I'm not concerned about the delay itself, it's the right thing to do given the published vulnerability.” Tis’ all part of Vitalik’s plan.