Bitcoin Fork Avoided
The last few days have been an intense ride for cryptoasset holders.
The Enterprise Ethereum Alliance announced on Tuesday that MasterCard and Cisco were joining their group to help develop the standard for Ethereum-based enterprise. Whilst these companies are working mostly on private versions of Ethereum, the goal is to make them interoperable with the ever-growing public chain (the Ethereum that we know).
The Ethereum client Parity, which is used by many thousands to interact and write code for the Ethereum blockchain was exploited. Some poorly written/audited code allowed anyone to reassign ownership of its multi-signature wallets (don’t worry, if you’re new to Ethereum and don’t follow the above then your funds are safe). $30M was stolen as a result, however the damage could have been far worse – Ethereum’s “White Hat Group” who helped to secure funds during the DAO debacle of last year, were also able to secure $100M+ of ETH using the same exploit found in Parity. Prices crashed briefly but soon recovered.
The biggest news of all has been today’s “lock in” of the SegWit2x proposal (also known as the New York Agreement). Enough miners (94.4% in the last 24 hours) have signalled support for the change, meaning that – assuming nodes also support SegWit2x – SegWit will be introduced on the Bitcoin blockchain before August 1st. What all this means is that there will not be a hard fork on August 1st and that the Bitcoin network will allow for far greater transaction throughput (nowhere near enough to compete with VISA and co, but a giant step in the right direction).
The User Activated Soft Fork (UASF) that threatened to split Bitcoin in two on August 1st has played a critical role in forcing the hand of those powerful miners. It has shown that despite miners having enormous control over the network, their power can be influenced by “grass roots” code changes from users.
Overall, the last week has been turbulent for cryptoasset prices across the board. The outcome is now an extremely positive one, and the future is looking very bright indeed.