In the life of a blockchain, sometimes a hard fork simply must happen. But though usually organic, they’re rarely without controversy.

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SummaryEthereum Classic (ETC) grew out of an ideological and ethical rift in the Ethereum community that provokes controversy to this day. In năm nhâm thìn, a significant hachồng was carried out on a third-các buổi tiệc nhỏ application running on the Ethereum (ETH) blockchain, which resulted in the theft of millions of dollars worth of ether, or ETH. In response, the Ethereum blockchain underwent a hard fork lớn essentially reverse the haông xã from the official ledger & return the stolen ETH to its original owners.

In contrast, the other branch of this fork kept the official ledger, that included the hachồng, unchanged — aiming khổng lồ preserve sầu a 100% immutable ledger. In other words, the two resulting blockchains differed in only one way: One still contained the record of the hack và the stolen ETH, while the other essentially wound baông xã the cloông chồng as if the hachồng had never happened. The edited blockchain preserved the Ethereum moniker, while the original/unchanged blockchain became known as Ethereum Classic.


The Origin of Ethereum Classic

There are many reasons why blockchains undergo hard forks and divide themselves inlớn separate blockchains. Sometimes forks are the result of technological upgrades. Other forks result from deep community disagreements on proposed protocol changes which ultimately split the project và its backers into irreconcilable factions. Such protocol changes can arise from forward-looking efforts to lớn improve sầu existing functionalities, or they can arise in reaction to lớn damage caused by bugs và hacks. The latter instance resulted in the Ethereum fork, which led lớn the creation of the Ethereum Classic (ETC) blockchain.

In năm 2016, an application on the Ethereum blockchain (known as The DAO) was hacked, leading to lớn the theft of around 3.6 million ether (ETH) — worth around $50 million USD in 2016 — which subsequently rose lớn be worth billions of dollars. To further contextualize the severity of this haông chồng, there were around 72 million ETH in circulation at the time, so the hackers stole around 5% of all ETH in existence.

To erase the hachồng from Ethereum’s ledger and return the money khổng lồ its original owners, Ethereum core developers chose to lớn implement a hard fork. The newly created ledger, which reversed the haông xã and returned the stolen ether, became the “main” Ethereum blockchain, and the original version of the ledger was renamed Ethereum Classic as a parallel network that was not compatible with the new main branch. A majority of users, especially victims of the hack, preferred the version of Ethereum that erased the hachồng. However, some users who viewed immutability as paramount chose lớn remain faithful to the original ledger, Ethereum Classic.

Ethereum vs. Ethereum Classic

The controversial divide between Ethereum and Ethereum Classic boils down to a philosophical debate which weighs two divergent choices:

A distributed ledger’s revised blockchain which was altered in a way that erased a successful cybertheft.

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A truly immutable blockchain with a permanent record of the network’s entire history, including a successful cybertheft.

Ethereum remains much more popular than its unedited counterpart, indicating where most of the cryptocurrency community landed on this hotly debated issue. Further, Ethereum has the tư vấn of Vitalik Buterin, the Ethereum project’s main creator, who is widely regarded as one of the most reputable & influential figures within the Ethereum community & the entire blockchain industry.

However, proponents of Ethereum Classic argue that the ETC hard fork hypocritically enabled the very thing that blockchain technology is meant to prevent — subjective sầu human manipulation. As a result, many idealists stand by Ethereum Classic và its associated cryptocurrency, ETC. Notwithstanding the good intentions of the edited ETH branch, ETC’s proponents categorically reject the reasoning that led to the hard fork in the first place. Many of these individuals believe that any changes to lớn a blockchain ledger (even well-intentioned ones) go against the ethos of the “code is king” mentality that many people associated with blockchain in the first place. Ethereum Classic proponent’s argue that immutable transactions are an irrefutable tenet of blockchain technology that mix it apart from the manipulations that many complained of within the traditional global financial system, asserting that immutability should not be compromised in any context.

Other cryptocurrencies, including bitcoin (BTC), have experienced similar debates. The 2017 Bitcoin Cash (BCH) hard fork from Bitcoin was hotly debated. In a more direct comparison to lớn the ETH vs. ETC controversy, hackers stole more than 7,000 BTC (worth around 41 million USD at the time) from the Binance crypkhổng lồ exchange in 2019. The exchange’s founder, Changpeng Zhao, suggested that the Bitcoin community roll bachồng the Bitcoin blockchain, just as Ethereum had done in 2016. In this instance, however, the suggestion did not materialize inkhổng lồ community action — perhaps in part because (unlike Ethereum’s founder Vitalik) Bitcoin’s pseudonymous founder Satoshi Nakamokhổng lồ ceased any public involvement in the project in 2011, & his, her or their identity is unknown. In other words, because of Satoshi’s absence, Bitcoin’s leadership is arguably more decentralized by mặc định than Ethereum’s.

Structure of Ethereum Classic

The Ethereum Classic protocol is essentially a clone of the original Ethereum protocol. Both Ethereum Classic & Ethereum are smart contract platforms that allow users to build decentralized applications (dApps) on their respective blockchains, and they remain similar from a general functional perspective sầu, although Ethereum has subsequently developed a considerably wider array of functionalities over time. The chains are identical up until bloông chồng 1,9trăng tròn,000 (where the attaông xã occurred). It is only after this blochồng that they diverge. As a result, significant updates lớn the Ethereum protocol after this point (including Ethereum 2.0) are not reflected in the Ethereum Classic protocol, & vice versa.

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The Future of Ethereum Classic

Foreshadowing a change of heart, Ethereum Classic has recently undergone several protocol upgrades that are aimed at making the protocol more interoperable with the Ethereum protocol. Two recent Ethereum Classic protocol upgrades — Atlantis (in 2019) và Agharta (in 2020) — signal the Ethereum Classic community’s intent khổng lồ build technological bridges between Ethereum Classic & other communities, including Ethereum. These updates were carried out through mandatory hard forks, which required Ethereum Classic users to nâng cấp their software in order to lớn comply with the updated rules of the Ethereum Classic network. These updates may signify an ongoing shift toward increased interoperability between these two blockchains. While some have sầu strongly opposed the various splits and forks in the overall Ethereum ecosystem, others believe sầu that “forks are freedom,” và that they allow both blockchains to develop democratically as their respective sầu communities see fit.