Ethereum Classic To Lose Over 50% Of Nodes As Top Client, OpenEthereum, Moves On
- Open Ethereum, led by Gnosis, calls quits on supporting Ethereum Classic (ETC) development.
- The client, formerly Parity Technologies, holds nearly 50% of ETC nodes.
- Will ETC still hold its immutability properties?
The largest developer client on Ethereum Classic, OpenEthereum (OE), completed a vote to deprecate development on the blockchain in a bid to focus their efforts on Ethereum and other projects.
Following the vote, only Core Geth and Hyperledger Besu clients – which hold less than a third of the nodes – will continue supporting the development of ETC.
Over 50% of ETC Nodes set to go off
According to ETCnodes.org, the total number of clients on ETC blockchain totals to 631 and will be reduced to 199 nodes (Core-Geth with 194 nodes and Hyperledger Besu accounting for five nodes) when developers update or hard fork the blockchain.
OE is a project that replaced Parity Technologies once the latter transferred the entire client codebase to decentralized exchange, Gnosis. Since the start of 2020, ETC developers and OE developers have been at loggerheads on the overall implementation of the Phoenix hard fork on ETC.
Speaking on why Open Ethereum is moving from ETC client support, Martin Köppelmann, CEO and Founder of Gnosis, stated OE didn't want to get into internal governance squabbles of ETC. He further said:
“We explored various options to work with different players from ETC, but in the end, we felt we want to focus on the thing we know and that is Ethereum.”
Other developers at Open Ethereum claim it is the “perfect time for divorce” as “supporting Classic is more trouble than what it's worth.”
Ethereum Classic Developers Respond
The animosity between the two development camps has been ranging for some time, as shown in the tweet below:
Lessons learned: Don't ever use Parity for production-level systems anymore.
I am very pleased to say that @Hyperledger Besu is now being used as an EVM client for a public endpoint like Blockscout Explorer for ETC.
Going to be shifting everything towards Besu moving forward.
— Yaz Khoury 🍕 (@Yazanator) July 10, 2020
However, responding to the latest deprecation, CEO of ETC Labs, Terry Culver, had a more friendly approach towards Parity developers. As the leading developer on Core-Geth client, ETC Labs will have a larger pie on the development of ETC, but the reduction of nodes may be harmful to ETC's security.
To prevent this, he called on ETC developers to find a balance between innovation and immutability developments on the blockchain.
Another lead developer, ETC Coop's Executive Director, Bob Summerwill, does not focus much on Multi-Geth and OE, leaving the project calling on developers to switch to the available options. He stated:
“Multi-geth is dropping ETC support too, but both core-geth and Hyperledger Besu are both viable options which we will be recommending to end-users. Best wishes.”
Immutability: The backstory on Open Ethereum, ETC
The story can be traced back to 2016 when the Ethereum blockchain split after the DAO hack. The hard fork rolled back the transactions before the hack (forming the current ETH blockchain).
Still, some developers and users saw this as interference in the core principle of blockchains – immutability. This group remained on the original chain – renamed to Ethereum Classic.
Fast forward to 2020, and the Phoenix hard fork by ETC raised questions on immutability due to the “upgrade in the op-code pricing to align with ETH's.” The op-code implementation raised questions on changing the tokenomics of ETC, which means the blockchain no longer holds immutability as a value proposition.
According to Multi-Geth and Parity core developer, Wei Tang, the lack of immutability on ETC makes the blockchain the same as ETH; hence it would be double work continuing to develop on both chains. His conclusion?
“I think for a healthy ecosystem of Ethereum, we should follow the majority consensus of ETH, or support a merge of ETH and ETC.”