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Brain gel? A parity bug continues without easy solution in sight

Three weeks and counting …

How long has this been since a mishap by Parity Wallet Parity has seen $ 160 million in frozen cryptocurrency code, and still no solution has been sought to release the funds. But that does not mean that discussions are not going on about how to make cryptocurrency to its rightful owners.

A Once heated, an escalating debate develops on the public discussion channels on the best way to correct the problem, and more specifically, how to avoid it to reset the history of the entire ethereum blockchain in what amounts to a software update at the network scale to do this.

Hosted on GitHub, a public channel which saw a notable activity was created by the ethereum developers team to discuss proposals for relaunching the ether in smart contracts. (Lost assets of this type occur with some frequency, for example when users send funds to non-existent portfolios.)

But the conversation around gender is changing, partly because of the magnitude of the loss of funds and the politics of decision-making.

As was the case after last year 's infamous DAO, the incident revived the debate over the overly centralized nature of the ethericeum' s development and its immutable blockchain , which means that all transactions are final and can not be corrected.

This is largely because, in response to the DAO, new software has been written and approved by network stakeholders to effectively rewrite its blockchain history. The movement has sparked controversy and criticism, even creating a blockchain alternative, the ethereum classic, now valued at $ 1.7 billion.

And although the parity hack is spurring the difficult conversation, there has been a shift in sentiment as to whether this is really the best way to solve massive hacks.

As a particularly vocal participant wrote on the Salvage Canal :

"If the Ethereum Foundation has to make a hard fork every three months to 12 months in order to move funds, we use Bank of Ethereum."

Not quite another DAO

However, while political tensions are reminiscent of DAO, there are some key differences between the two attacks. For its part, while the CAD funds were stolen, the funds of the Parity were rendered inaccessible because of a feat that forced the portfolios to self-destruct.

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And although there is a conspiracy going around to find out if the parity hijacker maliciously acted – by accidentally deleting the code library stealing funds – the fact that the l? Affected ETH has not been collected changes the nature of the technical correction.

In particular, it reduces the need for ethereum to reset its blockchain.

As a developer of the ethereum, Nick Johnston, responding to the infighting on the chain, wrote: "Why do you think that recovering lost funds must require" back up time "? Once, I had my bike stolen, it was recovered and returned to me.No travel time was involved."

Instead, ethereum updates are proposed that imply changes to existing ethereseum (EIP) enhancement protocols that could more broadly protect against the cases of the disease. ETH frozen. In short, developers are trying to take a broader approach to problem solving.

But while developers are focusing on introducing changes that could improve the security of the network as a whole, none of the solutions discussed so far seems to be a consensus.

Imperfect Options

For example, modifications could be made to an existing ethereum enhancement protocol, EIP156, which would reimburse some of the parity losses by adding a new rule to the software.

Created by the ethereum founder Vitalik Buterin in October last year, the EIP is named "Ether recovery in common classes of blocked accounts". But while the title is promising, developers do not believe that it is perfectly suited to the problem of parity.

EIP 156 helps restore funds by providing lost ETH owners with the mathematical proof that they are the rightful owners. However, it only works with funds that are stuck in empty or codeless smart contracts and can not save dead parity portfolios, which still have associated code.

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And although it is possible to extend EIP 156 to solve the current problem, the fix is ​​currently flawed.

According to Martin Holst Swende, head of the Ethereum's security, parity repayments could be hard coded in IEP 156, which would facilitate a single refund of funds . However, the refund would not be applicable to the tokens of the ICO that have been affected by the piracy.

And because of a quirk in the code, the wallets, once recovered, would not be returned to their original owners – instead, they would automatically be in the hands of the "Creator" of technology.

One of the most "elegant" solutions discussed on the theme of recovery is the idea of ​​"tokenize lost assets," such as credit of [] of Bitfinex " token that was issued to those who suffered in the hacking of $ 60 million last year.

The idea is inspired by EIP 156 itself, which works by creating a token by which lost fund owners can prove their property. This would allow traders to speculate on the release of funds, and, according to Holst Swende, could have the benefit of allowing people affected by the parity hack to recover funds before any potential code correction.

Similarly, Holst Swende speculated that perhaps a token of this kind could be used as a voting mechanism to find out if a basic software upgrade is actually desired by the community.

Proposition of Parity

But while it may be up to US-based Parity Technologies to shape a proposal regarding lost funds, its presence on the channel was sparse. However, this may not reflect the work of the company behind the scenes.

In response to requests for information, one representative said that discussions would soon be progressing.

It is not clear at this point if the conversation between the other members of the Ethereum community will have an impact on the Parity proposal, but writing on the channel yesterday, the Afri representative Schoedon asked for a summary of the discussion, indicating:

"The parity will probably discuss the proposals this week, but I want to be aware of any other proposal."

According to rumors on the subject, a member of the Parity is working on a fix that would involve changes to the ethereum virtual machine (EVM) to order that the lost wallets be "non-self-destructing".

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Although unconfirmed, the proposal was a subject of controversy for Johnston, who told CoinDesk that she would "change an important invariant" in the EVM, leading to "bugs" unexpected, even in contracts already deployed. "

However, Afri Schoedon assured that in the future, Parity intends to offer "not a single proposal, but several," referring to the community to decide " what is acceptable or desired. "

He told CoinDesk: "We will probably add two or three proposals to the stack."

Ice image via Shutterstock

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