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Hard-Fork May Be Necessary To Save Parity Funds, But Parity Will Take Lead For Now

After GitHub user devops199 just “accidentally killed” the library backing +$300M worth of Parity’s multi-sig Ethereum wallets, the community’s been scrambling to find a fix. Ethereum Foundation security director Martin Swende, for one, thinks a hard-fork is the only way forward.

Since devops199 became the owner of the uninitialized library in question and thereafter killed it, it’s not immediately clear what viable alternatives are available to Parity’s devs beyond a community-wide fork.

To Swende, the contours of the dilemma are obvious:

“There’s unfortunately no way to recreate the code without a hard fork. Any solution which makes the locked funds accessible requires a hard fork.”

But that doesn’t mean Swende’s even remotely enthused about the idea of the Ethereum Foundation having to supersede in such a major way for a burden and responsibility that should be entirely Parity’s.

“I’d like to see this spearheaded by the affected parties, not the foundation,” Swende noted to the press.

For now, though, the situation is a matter of governance, and Swende has hopes that the unique dynamic of the crisis will allow for a tidy, if not steady, resolution.

That’s because the 900,000 ether that are frozen in Parity’s multi-sig wallets are exactly that—frozen. These funds are in no danger of being stolen or misplaced while major stakeholders work out a fix.

Per Swende:

“There is no hard time limit […] the governance process can in my opinion move along without rushing anything.”

Currently, the Parity team is working on a handful of proposals for potential resolutions, after which they’ll work with the Ethereum Foundation to implement the most practical and effective of these resolutions.

In the mean time, we’ll all have to hold our breaths and hope a viable solution is forthcoming.

If a hard-fork does occur, that’ll be another wrinkle of complexity added to the Ethereum community. Would a fork assuage users’ concerns, or slow mainstream acceptance? For now, the waiting game ensues.

TLDR: The Ethereum Foundation’s security director thinks a hard-fork may be the only way to return the 900,000 ether that’ve been locked away by Parity’s latest multi-sig wallet bug. 


William M. Peaster is a cryptocurrency journalist and copy-editor based out of El Paso, Texas. He's an avid fan of Ethereum, ERC-20 tokens, and smart contracts in general.

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