[–] johnnydoebk link

>> marketing speech

>> FOSS developers

I don't think it has something to do with FOSS but rather with blockchain developers. Most projects have nice landing pages but very vague messages.

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[–] vertex-four link

> Most projects have nice landing pages but very vague messages.

It's to cover up the fact that most of them don't actually do anything very new, interesting, or in some cases (esp around Ethereum) even enforceable.

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[–] VMG link

Agreed. While you're not paying for using the product by buying a software license, you're often required to buy tokens (get it?) in order to use the product. The developers benefit from the increase in token price, because they often own a lot of those tokens.

Not that this is necessarily unethical, but it's good to know the incentives behind this.

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[–] woodrowbarlow link

wouldn't that be considered illegal market manipulation if they were somehow doing the same thing with US currency?

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[–] sonium link

The description of the (two) co-founders are 'Cofounder and Thought Leader' and 'Cofounder and Communications & Marketing'. This sounds a lot like they come both from a non-technical background. Maybe this the reason why?

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[–] Hydraulix989 link

Isn't it a little presumptuous to describe yourself as a "Thought Leader"?

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[–] dualogy link

> Why do so many FOSS developers imitate the worst aspects of the proprietary, commercial software world?

Just bubble things. Plus the youthful enthusiasm, I remember emulating and cultivating the hype speak from the late 90s / early 00s as a teen. It'll fade by the time the next gen are rushing in.

> FOSS developers

> proprietary, commercial software world

Do these terms even mean much anymore? "Proprietary" means "our SaaS codebase isn't open-sourced but rest assured it's 80% FOSS on the inside anyway". And "FOSS developers" means "let's put some select libs/snippets of our SaaS on Github, it's zero risk/cost plus potential upside in terms of mindshare/image (and of course potentially genuinely useful to some out there, who aren't looking to (or going to manage to) clone us and hey may even contribute fixes or features)".

World has moved on =) in an ironic twist it was MS' FOSS moves the last few months that sealed that perspective for me. (The old m.o. had its charms, but this current m.o. undeniably has evolved to appear much more compelling in many ways for most players)

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[–] xjay link

There's the web, and then there's the web of electronic brochures (WEB).

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[–] m12k link

Most likely you are not the audience - hapless investors wanting to get in on the next bubble are.

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[–] mathw link

I don't even have a clue what it does. I would expect some kind of hint after reading two screenfuls of content.

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[–] eat_veggies link

I think it's cool. Not everything has to look like Stallman's website

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[–] jonathanstrange link

I hate to sound so critical, it sure looks like an interesting project, but could developers of such applications/websites please stop putting everything on their web page in marketing speech? Why do so many FOSS developers imitate the worst aspects of the proprietary, commercial software world?

I looked at the feature descriptions and they are full of meaningless buzzwords like "crowd sourced wisdom". So you've lost a potential user. K.I.S.S.

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[–] mej10 link

Seconded! re-frame/reagent/re-natal are great. Really fun to use.

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[–] bschwindHN link

This app uses re-natal, a wrapper of React Native for ClojureScript. It also uses a ClojureScript framework called "re-frame" for data flow and "reagent" for wrapping React.

It's a pleasure to work with (most of the time, there are hiccups here and there) and you can develop for iOS and Android simultaneously. I highly recommend checking it out.

https://github.com/drapanjanas/re-natal

https://github.com/status-im/status-react/

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[–] carlbennetts link

Coinbase are nice people, and I hope Token is a success. If you'd like to compare the two products please do check out the tech stack - Status is completely decentralized, so doesn't rely on any centralised servers :)

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[–] px43 link

Is status.im using whisper for messaging? Is there end to end crypto between users?

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[–] j_s link

Interesting! I wonder how Apple will get their 30%?

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[–] woofyman link

>Interesting! I wonder how Apple will get their 30%?

The 30% is for paid apps and in app purchases of app content. If you use the Amazon app, for example. They don't take a cut.

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[–] j_s link

I'm not sure exactly how Apple draws the line (this looks like a store for digital stuff). If this approach gets popular (cryptocurrency to skip the 30% cut) I'm sure they'll pay more attention.

https://www.amazon.com/forum/amazon%20appstore%20deals/ref=c...

I'm not on board with the 30% commission explanation. On the Amazon ios app (normal retail app, not video only), I can buy everything but videos. Wouldn't they be hesitant to share 30% of the other billion dollars of revenue they do via ios?

https://www.quora.com/How-do-online-retailers-with-iOS-apps-...

Apple will only charge you the 30% of products sold through IAP. The caveat here is that if you sell digital goods through the app you don't any option other than using Apple's IAP.

also, in another answer:

It also doesn't include all digital goods. Only those digital goods whose services would be consumed within the app are accounted for the 30% free by Apple.

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[–] LeoPanthera link

Remarkably similar to Token from Coinbase, which launched just yesterday: https://www.tokenbrowser.com (and which is available in the iOS app store)

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[–] ganwar link

You can find a comprehensive list of dapps here: http://dapps.ethercasts.com

Developer activity in Ethereum is increasing at a very fast pace. This is only supposed to accelerate after the upcoming metropolis upgrade hard fork.

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[–] nexus9 link

I supported the fork because it was the rational decision to make under the circumstances. I never invested in the DAO or cared about the investors. The simple fact is that the theft was significant enough to cause an unacceptable and pointless security risk to the network.

Fortunately for us, there was a built-in delay in the DAO contract which provided the foundation and community with enough time to engage in public debate and determine the best solution. That solution was to carefully recover all the funds from the attacker without creating any negative externalities on innocent bystanders. In this sense, it was not a rollback as no other transactions were affected. Consensus was achieved on this goal and the community resolved the situation as expected. Despite all the ignorant comments and trolling, the truth is the HF worked out brilliantly.

The extremists, fundamentalists, and other ideologues who rallied to defend the theft because of their false notion of immutability and demented claims about "bailouts" never came close to understanding the severity of the situation. They never had the moral high ground nor the stronger end of the argument. I'm very pleased they didn't get their way.

In my view, the foundation and community handled the DAO debacle in a responsible, decentralized, open-minded, and respectful manner. I was not turned off in the least by the hard fork decision. In fact, it only strengthened my conviction and trust in the Ethereum project.

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[–] AroundTheBlock_ link

Yep, TheDAO fork represents one of the best things about the community, which is a)ability to make rapid, high pressure decisions, yet still offer fair choice to everyone.

People forget that the ETC exists and is viable for anyone who wants it.

Everyone needs to stop talking about developer losses and whatnot. They gave us a choice, there is 100% consensus on the ETH chain, and there is 100% consensus on the ETC chain. If you want to blame anyone, blame the users. But the dev team has been incredibly top notch and professional all around.

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[–] woodandsteel link

That's interesting. My problem with Ethereum was they seemed to think that the need for trust, based on social interaction, could be completely eliminated through software contracts. That seemed to me to be impossible, in part because you could never write a software contract that would respond correctly in every possible situation that might arise.

I am glad to here that I misunderstood how Ethereum works, and when thing go south human beings can intervene to get them back on track again. That's not perfect but it still seems to me that for many sort of matters it still would be a lot better than how the world presently works.

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[–] LeoPanthera link

I think the current Bitcoin situation is really showing that rapid, organized hard forks when problems occur is an extremely good thing. Bitcoin is currently frozen in time, since there are two major competing clients, and neither dare make any incompatible changes for fear of creating a fork, and right now neither has a majority.

A decentralized cryptocurrency is a lovely ideal, but in the dirty real world, Ethereum and its ilk will win out.

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[–] JeremyBanks link

The problem is not with forking to develop the protocol. Certainly, that is a good thing, and BitCoin's inability to do so is a serious issue.

The problem is forking to undo a specific transaction. That should never happen. The fact that so many people over-invested in a risky experimental project that they felt they had to sabotage the protocol to protect themselves reflects very poorly on the community.

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[–] flashmob link

Technically, no transactions were undone, but the fork agreed to new rules set in the future. The users of the new version also had a choice if they wanted to support the fork or not, the majority went with the fork.

This is a screenshot of the choice everyone was asked when starting up their wallet: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/d/d7/Et...

Ability for a community to set and agree to new rules is healthy for a blockchain and it makes it more likely that Ethereum can evolve and successfully hardfork to Proof of Stake (PoS) mining in the future.

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[–] baobabKoodaa link

Nice whitewashing. While you are technically correct that no transactions were undone, in practice a theft was (largely) reverted. You are also misrepresenting "users' choice" with regards to supporting the fork. If you make a transaction and everyone moves onto a different chain in order to effectively cancel your transaction, that's censorship of transactions. Censorship was a good choice in this case, but let's not pretend it's something it wasn't.

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[–] splintercell link

> If you make a transaction and everyone moves onto a different chain in order to effectively cancel your transaction, that's censorship of transactions.

If you don't like what NYT says, and you cancel your subscription and subscribe to WSJ (and let's just say that millions of people do the same thing, possibly due to some event), have you effectively censored NYT then?

The fact is, censorship has a meaning, and the way you're using the language, abuses that. We didn't censor Ubuntu when because of their unity decision lots of people moved to Linux Mint or to other distros.

We didn't censor Digg when it lost a huge traffic to Reddit after the v3 changes.

Uber wasn't censored when after the controversial immigration changes by Trump, people started to delete uber app and ride Lyft.

Censorship is when an organization forces your speech from all effective expression.

Will ETC be invoking censorship when they hard fork to eliminate the upcoming Ice Age baked into the Ethereum protocol?

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[–] baobabKoodaa link

Your analogies about choice do not really play here. This is about telling someone "we didn't cancel your transaction, everyone just decided to move onto a chain where it doesn't exist". (Also, you are correct that I was abusing the term 'censorship'.)

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[–] adamrezich link

Your analogy breaks down because we don't trade newspapers as currency, we consume them for information.

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[–] splintercell link

And until 2016 nobody used the phrase 'censorship of transactions'.

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[–] flashmob link

It's not censorship - it's called consensus.

Look back to the screenshot in my post. Censorship is when you conceal information. The screenshot clearly specifies a yes/no choice without leaning to any choice. (it specifies you can use any chains you want, both buttons are blue).

If only the bitcoin core developers were as brave as that to put something like this in their client and let the community reach consensus! "Hi, we are over capacity. Do you want bigger blocks? Yes / No". Instead, we see any post that doesn't fit their narrative deleted. Now that's censorship.

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[–] JeremyBanks link

New rules... to effectively undo one specific transaction.

Fine: it wasn't wiped from the block chain. That's irrelevant; that argument is nonsense.

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[–] max_ link

>The problem is forking to undo a specific transaction. That should never happen.

Ethereum already had plans to from Proof of Work to Proof of Stake as a consensus algorithm (in Q3).

The attacker stole over 10 million ETH

How would you feel using a system whose transactions are audited in majority by a thief?

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[–] JeremyBanks link

I'd be concerned. But the community already accomplished that by recklessly creating the situation in the first place, from which there was no truly good outcome.

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[–] adamrezich link

I understand and my knowledge of cryptocurrencies is very limited, but from what I understood, there was no "bug" in Ethereum itself; there was a loophole in the DAO contract script that someone exploited. To my uneducated-about-cryptocurrencies mind, hard-forking based on that sets a terrible precedent, and shows that users of the currency are willing to have that happen again if a similar situation arises, giving me absolutely zero trust in the system.

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[–] latenightcoding link

Here is the thing: Ethereum contracts are unstoppable and uncensorable until a core developer loses money

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[–] synchronise link

And the majority of miners decide to go with the new fork.

Everyone who wants someone to blame, keeps forgetting to place blame on the miners who facilitated this decision.

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[–] LeoPanthera link

I at least partially agree with you, and it's definitely a grey area. If Ethereum hadn't been so young at the time, the fork may not have happened.

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[–] mook link

I haven't kept track of this very much, and am curious: why might the fork not have happened if Ethereum was older? Assuming the undesirable transaction happened relatively close the the point of forking, only a small number of descendent transactions would need to be reverted, right?

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[–] bhaak link

No transactions were reverted. The rules were changed so the account with the "stolen" ETH could be drained to an address without the owner's approval.

But for this to happen, a hard fork was needed and if enough of the miners would have rejected that, it wouldn't have happened.

In part, this is exactly what happened. The hard fork was done but a group of miners used code without the new rules, therefore creating a separate blockchain.

Ethereum is the Ethereum blockchain where the DAO hacker was drained, Ethereum Classic is the Ethereum blockchain were their account wasn't drained (lots of turmoil followed on the ETC chain but that's a different issue).

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[–] WikipediasBad link

>A decentralized cryptocurrency is a lovely ideal, but in the dirty real world, Ethereum and its ilk will win out.

So basically you're saying centralized, institutionally backed and controlled currencies are better, or at least you're saying that hard forks are ok. Ok great. We have the dollar for that. Why even bother with cryptos.

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[–] contingencies link

We have the dollar for that. Why even bother with cryptos.

Network-based trust decentralization, even with limitations on its effectiveness, does provide somewhat provable insurance against state actors. Currently, state actors and state actor based monopolies are the biggest barriers to financial service innovation and essentially seek a continued global monopoly on financial systems access and financial systems derived intelligence feeds, largely self-justified with 'four horsemen of the internet apocalypse'[0] FUD[1].

[0] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Four_Horsemen_of_the_Infocalyp...

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fear,_uncertainty_and_doubt

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[–] cookiecaper link

People don't realize that bitcoin is small-scale. If a powerful government had an interest in overtly or aggressively disrupting it, it'd be dead overnight, on both technical (51% attacks) and practical grounds ("rubber hose cryptanalysis"; large portion of mining power is China-based, where they already have a massive network censorship appliance).

The blockchain is not an effective "insurance against state actors" on the macro scale.

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[–] samdoidge link

Bitcoin is doing very well for those wanted an uncensored decentralised currency. If you want to make many transactions for small amounts at a time, you want to use something else.

I think of it like physical gold, but with more utility - you don't use it for day to day transactions, but as a store of value it is very good.

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[–] eth1 link

the fact that you can't just fork bitcoin willy nilly, is a feature, not a bug.

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[–] RexetBlell link

I would ask an opposite question, why were so many people bothered? When the fork happened, Ethereum was just a baby (and still is). It was barely out of Alpha (Frontier) stage, in very early Beta stage.

Letting the hacker walk away with millions at that point would have been silly. It was enough Ether to give the hacker the funds to DOS the system to death for years to come if he wanted to.

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[–] Aaron1011 link

> Letting the hacker walk away with millions at that point would have been silly.

The issue is, the person wasn't a 'hacker' in any meaningful sense of the word.

Etherium claims to be "a decentralized platform that runs smart contracts: applications that run exactly as programmed without any possibility of downtime, censorship, fraud or third party interference" (from etherium.org). That is, an Etherium program doesn't implement a written contract, it is the contract.

Despite this lofty goal, the core team saw fit to hard-fork the chain because they didn't like how a particular program was executing. The claim that the 'hacker' had 'stolen' funds from theDAO is ridiculous - you can only steal what doesn't belong to you, and ownership of theDAO's Ether is defined by the program itself!

More broadly, the hard-fork seems to imply that an Etherium contract is really made up of two contracts. One contract is the program itself, which explicitly spells out what is and not allowed. The other contract is an implicit understanding of what the program 'should' do, and exists only in the minds of the creators of the contract. The issue arises when this implicit 'contract' is used to override the real contract - flying in the face of how Etherium claims to work.

A much better solution would have been to try to address the underlying issues in Solidity - perhaps requiring future contracts to explicitly allow recursion? I personally question the decision to use a Turing-complete language to express contracts in the first place.

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[–] RexetBlell link

Turing-complete language is just the base layer. You could build more limited languages (decidable languages) on top, which are more appropriate for smart contracts.

There is a new decidable language that compiles to EVM bytecode: https://github.com/ethereum/viper Visually it looks similar to Python. The language is not turing complete, and one of the advantages of this is it's easier write bug free code and easier to verify that the code is doing what you think it's doing.

The reason why the entire EVM is turing complete (and not more limited) is because making it decidable instead is harder than making it Turing complete and would have made the protocol more complex: https://github.com/ethereum/wiki/wiki/White-Paper#computatio...

A Turing-complete language is base layer: you can build any paradigm you want on top.

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[–] Aaron1011 link

Thanks! I had mistakenly thought that Solidity was still the only way to write Etherium programs (other than directly using the bytecode).

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[–] DennisP link

If the hacker really thought he hadn't committed theft, he could have revealed his identity and sued the developers. My guess is he would have ended up in prison that way.

Since the hack, various small improvements have been made to Solidity, the Foundation hired someone to work full-time on formal verification, there's the new Viper language which is easier to verify, and the community has gotten a lot more serious about coding standards and security audits.

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[–] Aaron1011 link

> he could have revealed his identity and sued the developers

TheDAO very explicitly states that you can't do this: "Your use of the Software does not, in and of itself, create a legally binding contract in any jurisdiction and does not establish a lawyer-client relationship. Your communication with a non-lawyer will not be subject to the attorney-client privilege and (depending on your jurisdiction) may not be entitled to protection as confidential communication."

Honestly, though, I have absolutely no idea what would happen in a legal case involving 'smart contracts', as I don't think there's any precedent involving treating computer programs as contracts.

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[–] davidgerard link

> TheDAO very explicitly states that you can't do this

It turns out the code of a smart contract doesn't override the legal system.

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[–] dragonwriter link

> Honestly, though, I have absolutely no idea what would happen in a legal case involving 'smart contracts', as I don't think there's any precedent involving treating computer programs as contracts.

Smart contracts aren't legal contracts, though they may be evidence of the existence and content of one.

Of course, strictly speaking that's true of the written documentation of a contract, too.

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[–] DennisP link

That quote doesn't seem like good news for the hacker, since it seems to say the contract code is not a legally binding contract (and therefore doesn't govern legal ownership).

It would be an interesting case, for sure.

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[–] adamrezich link

Like I said in another comment, there was no bug in Ethereum, there was a loophole in the DAO contract script. In my mind, this is somewhat akin to creating a new currency, and then when a major bank trading in/holding that currency gets robbed due to lax security, the bankers decide that everyone needs to round all the currency up and rewind time and pretend like that never happened as a solution. Who's to say that won't happen again? I know that the DAO is instrumental to the early success of Ethereum, but what if some other major third-party is attacked in a similar way in the future? Are we just going to hard-fork every time something like this happens? What happens if/when Ethereum takes off, and eventually is used for elections or something? Will undesired election results cause hard-forks by the dissenting party? It just seems like a slippery slope to me, with no solution other than "well let's hard fork it now and reserve the right to hard fork it again in the future".

It also concerned me that it sure seemed like nearly everyone who was in favor of the hard fork had invested in the DAO and nearly everyone who was against it had not.

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[–] vidarh link

Consider it a light preview of the chaos is to come when courts get involved and make rulings about required transfers of assets and decide to hold people in contempt when they claim they technically can't transfer them.

The inability to undo financial transactions based on ownership claims instead of hard currency flies in the face of centuries of expectations of modern society.

Evidence of past ability to undo transactions via hard-forks will create "interesting" legal conundrums for anyone trying to claim to a court it can't be done.

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[–] vertex-four link

In practice, courts will say "pay the expected value of replacing the loss in USD", as they've always done for transactions that can't be undone. Permanent transactions are not a new thing to the legal system - if, for example, you sell a one-off art piece to someone else, then they sell it to someone else, and a dispute arises between the first two actors, the solution could not be to return the art piece.

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[–] vidarh link

For monetary transactions that's fine. But they are not the only type of smart contracts. Consider the people trying to e.g. bootstrap systems for using the blockchain as a share ledger for a company for example. There the court will just say "X is the owner of those shares. Ensure the record reflects that." If the system they have chosen for the ledger can't let them rollback a transfer because of a bug, that is the company's problem.

There are a lot of potential circumstances where people will need to find human workarounds for the supposed immutable nature of these blockchains because courts will simply say "this is how it is; make it happen". The above example is "simple": The company can worst case just pass a board resolution to replace the ledger and/or reissue it.

But it is a demonstration that the immutability of the ledger will often be irrelevant, in the face of a court that says "this is the truth now".

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[–] robomc link

It fundamentally undermines the trustless automated nature of smart contracts.

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[–] vertex-four link

Surely if you're able to undermine the trustless nature of them, they weren't trustless in the first place - i.e. you're merely trusting a possibly larger group of people to fail to come to an agreement on changing the protocol.

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[–] laughingman2 link

Blockchains don’t offer us a trustless system, but rather a reassignment of trust

https://aeon.co/essays/trust-the-inside-story-of-the-rise-an...

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[–] baobabKoodaa link

I stopped reading this at the point where the author referenced DAO as "Vitalik Buterin's corporation".

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[–] splintercell link

If a rogue journalist gets "Donald Trump is great" article published in NYT, bypassing the Editorial board, and 95% of the audience and Editorial board leaves and subscribes to a 'New New York Times' paper started by the same editorial team, has it undermined 'Free Speech'?

Has it undermined their motto "All the news that's fit to print"? Keep in mind, the old NYT still exists with 5% of original capacity.

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[–] rabbyte link

forks are part of the protocol but the vast majority of them are tossed away due to the miner incentives to stick with the most popular chain. a hard fork happens when there's either a widespread bug that conflicts with older/other clients -OR- when there's a consensus failure in the population using the chain.

in The DAO's case, there was a consensus failure in the population but the majority decided to go along with a recovery. There were good reasons to go either way but most people decided this was an experiment, it's early stage, and a move to PoS would be more difficult with a wealthy attacker. I invested but did not want to fork because I was willing to take on the risks. I lost out but I still stick with the main chain because what matters is where we're going with this not where we are. It was a valuable lesson for the community, devs have heavily stepped up investment in security and stability, I doubt anything like it will happen again as even those who were in favor now understand the damaging effects it can have.

still, if you look at the effects it's pretty interesting. You now have ETC and ETH and the market caps for each have waved to reflect the interest in the two competing ideologies. this means blockchains resolve failure through replication and the social effects that happen after can retroactively decide who the winner is or, as it is in this case, you now have two compatible technologies going different directions. ETC is staying PoW, ETH is moving to PoS, both have different governance attitudes and the split has been mostly amicable. not too bad.

edit- I should note this is also true of Bitcoin. the only reason it hasn't split is because its miner and user culture strictly adhere to immutability. if the population decided immutability didn't matter, it wouldn't. there are points of resistance to push back on the way people are but ultimately these things don't run themselves. they depend heavily on incentives.

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[–] Aaron1011 link

> I doubt anything like it will happen again as even those who were in favor now understand the damaging effects it can have.

That's one my my main concerns - the hard fork has set an incredibly dangerous precedent. Etherium has shown that it's willing to jettison the idea of 'code as contract' whenever the code ends up doing something 'bad'. In the case of theDAO, 'bad' meant anything from "people losing a lot of money" to "we found a 'bug' in an experiment that still isn't ready".

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[–] vidarh link

Consider the "dangerous precedent" to be their first run-in with the realities of human society: We've long ago decided we did not want to be subjected to mindless, letter-of-the-law application of rules.

Substantial amounts of case law deals with exceptions and courts ruling on how to make things good in situations where there were disagreements between people over what the rules were meant to be, and most of them will not go away just because there's a computer program that can decisively tell us what the outcome of executing the rules exactly as written will be - a court can, and does, for example find that the rules contradict the law, or that the rules are so one sided that they imply there is no meeting of minds and therefore no valid contract.

Substantial amounts of literature lampoons the very idea of static rules to govern behaviour. E.g. Asimovs three laws of robotics represents not an ideal to strive to, but the backdrop that let him spend story after story showing how seemingly straight-forward rules and be circumvented, coopted, or hav unintentional side effects.

As societies we decide to make concessions and wave away rule breaches all the time when it seems like the right thing to do.

Systems that mindlessly apply rules in ways that are hard to reverse are going to have tough run-ins with societies where every enforcement mechanism includes expectations of being able to override rules.

This is my big problem with systems like Ethereum: Courts will eventually demand some transaction or other to be undone. If the other party can't be coerced into doing it, sooner or later they will issue decisions to e.g. some service provider or software developer to do it. When they can't do it, odds are bad decisions will get made. And eventually badly written contracts will create conditions where there is no way for contracts to get undone in ways that will satisfy the courts. It's going to take a long time to settle how to handle this in a sane way, and I'm willing to bet someone will eventually end up in prison in the meantime either because the courts fail to understand the technical limitations built into the system, or because they do understand them and decide someone is responsible for some transaction anyway if they chose to use such a system.

It's going to get messy.

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[–] laughingman2 link

I think that the anarcho-capitalist outlook to form "trust less" networks for humans who rely on trust in many aspects is inherently contradictory.

https://aeon.co/essays/trust-the-inside-story-of-the-rise-an...

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[–] rabbyte link

you have to look at the full precedent though which is that forks can be used to keep a chain nimble and if you do disagree with where the majority goes you can still use the unaffected chain with others who feel the same. I don't mean to downplay, there are very serious effects that come from unforeseen forks and they should be avoided, but the dogmatic view just doesn't hold any weight with me anymore. Bitcoin will fork eventually. It's mostly fear and apprehension that has kept it where it is.

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[–] Aaron1011 link

> you have to look at the full precedent though which is that forks can be used to keep a chain nimble and if you do disagree with where the majority goes you can still use the unaffected chain with others who feel the same

That's probably true in general, but the idea of 'code as contract' is supposed to be one of the defining features of Etherium. If the project wants to move away from that, then it should stop pretending that smart contracts are "applications that run exactly as programmed without any possibility of downtime, censorship, fraud or third party interference."

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[–] adamrezich link

This all makes sense to me as these cryptocurrencies mostly remain experiments with minimal effect on the real world, but what happens if one of them takes off, as they all aim to? Society can't handle its underlying currencies forking and splitting all the time. Why should I trust Ethereum ever again after the DAO hard-fork?

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[–] RexetBlell link

I would argue that today ironically the chance of Ethereum forking again due to a poorly written contract is much lower than it was a year ago. Many lessons were learned and the community is much larger. Also many people who supported the Dao fork, would be against the fork today, because there is no more excuse that "we are early and we don't know how to write secure contract code".

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[–] adamrezich link

The recursion thing was an interesting loophole, and we now know to avoid it when writing contracts. What if there is another interesting loophole that we haven't yet discovered, and that gets exploited? You say,

>Also many people who supported the Dao fork, would be against the fork today, because there is no more excuse that "we are early and we don't know how to write secure contract code".

but what you really mean is, we've identified a single "attack vector" and now know to avoid it. And, in the process, we've set a precedent that the discovery of any sufficiently large-scale-affecting (or core developer-affecting?) "attack vector" can potentially result in the software contracts being overridden by human action, i.e. a rollback and hard fork. Thus, I personally see no reason to trust the Ethereum network, even though it's full of really cool ideas and technology.

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[–] DennisP link

Fwiw there was no rollback. The fork moved the stolen funds, but didn't affect unrelated transactions.

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[–] cel1ne link

> What happens if/when Ethereum takes off, and eventually is used for elections or something?

Not meaning to be snarky, but does anyone seriously believe that? Sometimes I do think software-engineers should go and try to understand processes of non-techies a bit more.

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[–] AroundTheBlock_ link

Yep we seriously believe it. It's no more crazy than using crypto for actual money.

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[–] cel1ne link

It is not crazy. I'm fairly certain though, it won't reach the adoption you imagine.

Why would a nation ever adopt anything like this? Can you give me a scenario?

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[–] runeks link

> I would ask an opposite question, why were so many people bothered? When the fork happened, Ethereum was just a baby (and still is). It was barely out of Alpha (Frontier) stage, in very early Beta stage.

Was this fact communicated out to the people who invested $150 million in Ethereum? Attracting a hundred million dollars in investor money, then failing and saying "woops! that was just a test run.", I'm not surprised some people were bothered a bit.

The crux of the matter is that some people were way too confident about the viability of their product, and as a consequence a lot of investor money was lost. One or more programmers somewhere were too impressed with their own skills, without the ability/willingness to see the weaknesses.

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[–] baobabKoodaa link

People didn't invest $150 million in Ethereum. Ethereum and "The DAO DAO" are 2 different entities.

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[–] runeks link

I disagree. When the Ethereum protocol changes as a consequence of a weakness in the DAO, they are essentially the same entity. I agree that the point of Ethereum is to be the lowest layer protocol, and thus independent from what runs on top if it (like the DAO), but this clearly isn't the case when the core protocol changes as a result of a bug in an app running on top of it.

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[–] baobabKoodaa link

So after the U.S. government bailed out banks, did you deduce that "USA" is the same entity as "Bank of America"?

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[–] unixhero link

Just a baby, but it had gone live. People had solid vested interestes, by actually having put money into it.

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[–] laughingman2 link

I think this article portrays why trust is needed even in decentralized systems.

https://aeon.co/essays/trust-the-inside-story-of-the-rise-an...

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[–] baobabKoodaa link

You keep spamming this link in multiple places. Are you the author? Stop spamming.

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[–] animex link

I am bothered by it and steer clear of Ethereum, although the basic premise & ideas behind Ethereum interest me. There have been (4) hard forks so far. Of great concern was how the DAO fork/vote was conducted, this article provides a good summary:

https://bitcoinmagazine.com/articles/op-ed-why-ethereums-har...

I wouldn't be surprised if ETC gains more popularity for adhering to the decentralized principles but I have no idea who is at the helm in terms of development for ETC.

ETH has seen a tripling in their value in the last few months. Definitely, the platform is a serious one, with serious goals and isn't a "shitcoin" (1000+ coins that fork bitcoin and pump and dump). They have buy-in from some major/bluechip players in the tech industry.The creator of ETH has stressed that ETH is a new technological experiment and volatility is part of the norm. So don't throw your life savings into it.

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[–] nluejeans link

ETC has hardforked since then also, and will hardfork again in order to defuse the upcoming difficulty bomb. Hardforks, although not ideal, are needed at this point in time in order to facilitate technological progress

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[–] gcmartinelli link

I believe the issue here is not doing a hardfork. Hardforks are needed sometimes.

The issue is the purpose of "The DAO" hardfork (in practical terms, a bailout) and how it was done (destroying Ethereum's blockchain immutability).

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[–] bhaak link

This is a point of contention.

One side claims the blockchain immutability has been breached by draining the black hacker's DAO.

The other side claims, it hasn't been as there has been no rollback of transactions. In that view, it was just an additional special case rule added to the code that removed the usual restriction for one specific address.

Whatever side's opinion you share, there is one good thing that has achieved by this hard fork. The community has been split along those lines and the group that went Ethereum Classic is for the most part no longer involved with Ethereum.

Besides small bickerings on Twitter, there is no drama about this anymore and the Ethereum community is no longer concerned about this event (although not the obvious problems with the complexity of smart contracts but that is an on-going effort).

Imagine if Bitcoin would have split up along the SegWit / Big Blocks lines. We wouldn't have had a standstill for 3 years and we would have been spared that constant drama.

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[–] DennisP link

"Bailout" generally means you paid off some group of people by taking money from taxpayers. In this case, the only person who lost money was the thief. I'd call it a recovery of stolen funds.

I was not invested in TheDAO but supported the fork mainly because (1) to anyone who's not a blockchain purist, if you can recover a stolen $50M you obviously should, and (2) it was early days, and the precautions the contract authors should have taken were undocumented and basically unknown to the community, so I thought more leeway was justified. Even the official documentation had similar flaws.

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[–] AroundTheBlock_ link

Except ETC is hard forking in a few months to change their coin issuance for no reason other than to make their own pockets richer.

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[–] jesusthatsgreat link

Because most people aren't lawyers whose job it is to defend bad actors and deflect blame on to good actors for enabling the bad actor to carry out their bad act in the first place.

If you're arguing there should have been no hard fork, then you're defending a person whom you know is guilty of an $80m robbery.

You can claim that technically it wasn't robbery, and they just found the money unattended while searching for unattended money in a bank, but any reasonable person would interpret that as theft.

Meanwhile, as you're fixated on how wrong Ethereum was to protect itself from a significant % of ETH falling in to the hands of a bad actor, there's a much larger issue in the cryptocurrency world right now which is mining centralisation in cryptocurrency and Bitcoin in particular. It was viewed as merely theoretical once upon a time but now it's very much an issue and crippling the use of Bitcoin as a currency and as a project. Status.im is just one example of that. It could have been built using Bitcoin but it's using Ethereum because it's the more progressive platform / currency / blockchain / ecosystem.

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[–] lifty link

An interesting project that tries to tackle governance and the formal verification aspect of smart contracts is Tezos (https://tezos.com). I find their approach very appealing and I think it has the potential to grow big, while retaining a solid foundation. It's worth reading their position and white papers.

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[–] adamrezich link

I haven't followed Ethereum since the whole DAO debacle. I was very excited about the technology but the way the whole hard fork/Ethereum Classic thing was handled really turned me off. Has progress been made on formally verifying contracts or anything like that? And why aren't more people bothered by the whole hard fork thing?

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[–] kkapelon link

Worst name ever. It will be very hard for people to search about this (not to mention the SEO problems)

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[–] bshimmin link

I actually thought this was a Stripe product when I first saw the landing page - and I mean that as a compliment, because Stripe's web pages are always beautiful. (My only slight criticism of this one is that the bits which load in progressively as you scroll down have slightly too much of a delay.)

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[–] ksahin link

Amazing project, and great landing page btw. It seems the Ethereum ecosystem is becomming more and more mature, that's great !

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[–] mmjaa link

This looks great, but the only thing stopping me from integrating something like this into my apps is the fact that there isn't any native (Objective-C) client/library support, so far.

Its one thing to have a prototype built with JS. Its another thing entirely to integrate into apps which use native technologies.

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[–] Ethcoin link

Whenever there is an article on crypto currencies, I see a subset of accounts come out of the woodwork to praise them.

Whether you've invested in Ethereum should be mentioned.

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[–] carlbennetts link

Thanks so much for trying it out! We're also completely open source so contributors are most welcome (https://wiki.status.im/contributing/development/introduction...) - also feel free to come say Hi on our Slack (http://slack.status.im/), we're friendly people :)

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[–] fiatjaf link

Man, this is a great idea.

EDIT: Hey, you can actually download it right now if you join the beta.

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[–] marclave link

Great idea, and the landing page is incredibly beautiful. Well done.

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[–] carlbennetts link

Status is decentralized messaging platform to access the Ethereum Network (Web 3.0). Essentially we're building a network that's completely operated by it's own users, and runs entirely on peer-to-peer technologies.

Users can send encrypted messages, payments, and can interact and chat with decentralized applications. What's exciting about Ethereum is it removes the need not only for centralized servers, but also for intermediaries that were traditionally required in order to partake in trade or legal agreements. A good place to start if you'd like to learn more: http://www.ethdocs.org/en/latest/introduction/what-is-ethere...

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[–] coolspot link

web3

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[–] beaner link

Could they call it anything less self-explanatory?

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[–] robomc link

Well, the other option is to explain how it's like existing methods of delivering online functionality, but decentralised - a thing that nobody really values - plus also incredibly slow, fairly complex, and you have to pay for everything that happens, and also the entire ecosystem is centred around a volatile speculation-rife currency and an approach to financial transactions which has been full of real and significant security problems - including the theft of millions of dollars from the flagship implementation right under the noses of many of the core devs, despite paying corrupt levels of money to other core boosters of the platform for completely hopeless security reviews...

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[–] cookiecaper link

Totally with you here. The blockchain is an awesome experiment and prototype of what a good decentralized, verifiable system could look like, but it has several significant flaws, some of which are obvious even in the limited context of a worldwide ledger (bitcoin).

In particular, throwing away 47 zetaflops/s of computing power (the current compute power of the bitcoin network [0]) and all of the electricity required to generate it in order to verify the transactions of the tiny quantity of people currently using bitcoin is obscene, and the mechanism that encourages this should be recognized as the unscalable disaster that it is. Basing "Web 3.0" on such mechanisms is, frankly, a ridiculous proposition.

And all of this "decentralization" is thrown out the window by virtually everyone, because to store a full copy of the blockchain on your local disk, you need -- let's see --

    $ du -sh /mnt/apps_syn/dot_bitcoin/
    118G    /mnt/apps_syn/dot_bitcoin/
120 gigabytes of space. So you end up just trusting Coinbase or whoever you have your wallet from anyway, no different than trusting your bank.

If Coinbase had an Ethereum moment, they could fork the chain that all of their wallets use, and with their MtGox-like domination of the market, any resistance to their fork would seriously damage Bitcoin overall. I imagine most miners would go along with it because they don't want their btc to drop to 0.

Consider also that there is virtually no transparency into the actual miner operations. The biggest miners are behind "pools" -- relays -- and though the idea is that pools are made up of tens of thousands of independently-controlled computers, I suspect that if we could see through to which machines were actually doing most of the work, bitcoin would suddenly seem a lot less "decentralized".

This is not to mention that miners behind pools are totally at the pool's mercy, or that 5 pools hold over 50% of the network's hashrate, and that these pool operators have been in one room together to decide on blockchain policy (re blocksize, which miners are incentivized to oppose, since smaller blocksize == higher transaction fees). That is little different than big banks meeting under the auspices of the Federal Reserve to control monetary policy.

It's very sad that people saw bitcoin and thought it was a good idea to expand its flawed model out, instead of accepting it for the forward-thinking prototype it was and thinking about how to improve it before jumping all in.

[0] per https://bitcoinwatch.com

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[–] mbrock link

I work full time on Ethereum development, and I don't have any kind of maximalistic opinions about decentralization, the evils of banks, or whatever.

It's just a very interesting technology with a really great momentum. But everything is flawed under the sun. There is no perfect technology that can completely decentralize authority with no resource demands.

Or maybe Satoshi's reincarnation will come and deliver a new mind-blowing concept that makes blockchains completely deprecated. That would be pretty cool. But until then, you know.

By the way, Ethereum's roadmap includes switching away from proof of work towards proof of stake, which doesn't waste electricity. This model has been used successfully, for example by Bitshares.

It also includes a light client protocol so mobile nodes don't need much disk space or processing power.

[As always, Hacker News is full of critics...]

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[–] cookiecaper link

This isn't a nitpick about how the blockchain isn't perfect. IPv4 is imperfect, HTTP is imperfect, etc. The blockchain is ill-conceived and impractical.

At this point, I only check in on the bitcoin community casually, so I'm not familiar with proof of stake, but I'm glad to hear work is underway to resolve that glaring issue in Ethereum. I'll definitely read up on it. Thanks for the pointer.

>[As always, Hacker News is full of critics...]

Indeed. We come here to discuss, which will involve some criticism. Working on Ethereum is not really an indictment, so don't worry. :)

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[–] mbrock link

That's what I mean, you're not familiar with what's happening, yet you comfortably dismiss the whole idea of blockchain as ill-conceived and impractical.

So both of your major criticisms are being actively addressed by very smart people who plan to have them solved in the near to medium term future.

Does that in any way change your view of blockchain? Maybe it could possibly work? Or, no, it's just a hopeless dumb idea that will surely crash?

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[–] cookiecaper link

>That's what I mean, you're not familiar with what's happening, yet you comfortably dismiss the whole idea of blockchain as ill-conceived and impractical.

It's not "the blockchain" anymore if they've changed the fundamental mechanisms of its operation (e.g., eliminating miners, which the sibling commenter indicated as a goal).

It may be a blockchain, if we want to use "blockchain" as a generic descriptor for a chain of cryptographic signatures, or a blockchain-inspired / blockchain-derived concept, but "the" blockchain, as in the blockchain concept developed for use with bitcoin, is fundamentally dependent on mining for its validity. Change that, and it's not really "blockchain" anymore, at least not as used in the current vernacular. And that's fine -- bitcoin quickly outgrew its britches and needs revision.

>So both of your major criticisms are being actively addressed by very smart people who plan to have them solved in the near to medium term future.

Yes, that's awesome. I'm glad that some people are now deciding that these issues deserve a response instead of continuing headlong into the hype abyss. Why should this mean that people can't complain? If I hadn't, I wouldn't have known that Ethereum is working on a solution. :)

>Does that in any way change your view of blockchain? Maybe it could possibly work? Or, no, it's just a hopeless dumb idea that will surely crash?

Again, I haven't reviewed it yet, but sure, changing the mechanisms of operation could potentially make a thing called "blockchain" workable. "A rose by any other name..." and all that.

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[–] DennisP link

Ethereum is attempting to improve Bitcoin's model by (1) changing to a proof-of-stake protocol to eliminate miners, and (2) adding sharding, so each node stores a fraction of the chain and acts as a light client for all the rest.

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[–] k0mplex link

But what's it for?

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[–] gorkemyurt link

Is the intention here to run mini react-native apps (Dapps?) within a bigger app (status app itself)?

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[–] undefined link
[deleted]

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[–] woodandsteel link

People have been using daps for a while now. Could someone explain what this allows you to do that you couldn't do before?

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[–] floflo79 link

So awesome to see these dapps get to the next level!

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[–] neilalexander link

Near enough this exact idea is in the App Store in the form of another app called "Token".

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[–] coolspot link

If Apple would allow this in AppStore, it would be uuuge.

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[–] Jabanga link

Does Status use SPV?

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[–] unlmtd link

> and all of the electricity required to generate it in order to verify the transactions of the tiny quantity of people currently using bitcoin is obscene

I have the same thought when I see lawns and trucks, or all the roofs that aren't collecting their rainwater. Homo petroleum petroleum.

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[–] ptrinh link

Nice one from Singapore ;-)

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