Ethereum is facing perhaps the most extreme crossroads in its history, that goes beyond its next upgrade called Constantinople.
With Casper, the Difficulty Bomb, and the general question of if and when to implement Proof of Stake all on the horizon, the network’s troubles appear to have just begun.
The previously mentioned Constantinople, which is a part in a series of upgrades that are designed to increase network performance and reduce overall fees, is now part of the seemingly never-ending debate on Ethereum’s future.
On top of all of this, the key issue remains: the network’s participants and leaders cannot seem to agree enough to implement any of these changes or even draw up a general plan that reflects the majority opinion.
The question of why this is happening relates to what Blockchain networks are at their core. They are decentralized and no one organization controls them. Even the Ethereum Network, with the backing of the powerful Ethereum Foundation, still needs most of its users to agree to implement any future plan.
If it does not achieve this soon, it is logical to say that it will be risking a majorly contentious fork akin to what happened with Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash in 2017.
Even closer to home is what happened in 2016 with Ethereum’s DAO being hacked. As you may already know, this resulted in the current network called Ethereum Classic, which is simply Ethereum, without the code changes that developers implemented to recover funds as a result of the hack.
What both of these examples illustrate is that in the Crypto space, new networks have consistently come forth from old networks when issues cannot be solved in a way that most participants can agree on.
With this in mind, what can be done to prevent this? A recent piece by Coindesk that appeared today suggested that contentious factions have even formed within the network on social media, with people grouping around the concerns that they identify with the most. One prime example of this would be a mining company called Atlantic Crypto, which stated that they will only support proposals that do not reduce network security in any way.
On the other side of things, the well-known founder of Ethereum, Vitalik Buterin, was quoted as saying that the particular proposal that Atlantic Crypto is referencing with this statement, which is called EIP 1295, would risk further centralization of the network related to mining pools. If you want a current example of why this is detrimental to the success of the industry at large, look no further than the stranglehold that Bitmain has on the mining space.
Overall as we have already suggested, if enough Ethereum nodes, or users who run the blockchain on their computers, decide not to support the upcoming versions of the network software, then a new network will be created by those that stay behind.
With no viable solution on the horizon that satisfies the network’s majority as of yet, one can only hope that Ethereum can find a way to survive this controversy as a multitude of projects that ran ICOs with the network depend on its success.
If not, we just might see a market crash, the likes of which has not occurred since Bitcoin lost 71% in 12 hours in April, 2013.
By: BGN Editorial Staff