Date Posted: 8/26/2016

Ethereum, a new cryptocurrency for smart contracts, performed a hard fork to reverse the damage wrecked by The DAO, an investment contract that was identified by Emin Gun Sirer and colleagues as vulnerable. The hard fork went without a hitch, and was covered widely in the press. 

Sirer was an advocate for the hard fork before it happened: "Everybody who bought into The DAO with substantial cash wants a hard fork. People who have no conflict of interest with the DAO, like myself, want to see a hard fork. The folks [the startup created the DAO] will be sued no matter what but they want to follow the path with least legal responsibility."

Afterwards, Sirer, characterized by Quartz as the person "who has perhaps contributed the most research in the aftermath of the DAO hack", praised the Ethereum world for how it adapted to discoveries of technical flaws:  "The Ethereum community has been amazingly science-driven, open and forthright. The civilness of their response should be a shining example to other communities".  

Community was also a theme he drew out as a moral to the story. As a contrast to the "long-chain fetishism" of those who view the length of a blockchain as the source of its value, Sirer said, "The most important lesson, at least for me, and I hope for the public at large as well, is that the fiat currency in my pocket and also the cryptocurrency in various different wallets that I have, they all have value because of community properties, because the community believes them."  

Press coverage:
IT World Canada