A newly proposed chain-split fork of ethereum to keep the current Proof of Work blockchain running, EthereumPoW, claims they have as many as 60 developers.
Chandler Guo, a longtime eth miner and one of the drivers behind this fork, stated in an interview:
“There are more than 60 developers, mostly volunteers and members from aWSB (a crypto native DAO based in Silicon Valley), working on the POW fork.”
aWSB seems to be an NFT project with their Clubhouse having 10,000 members. They claim to just hang around and talk about bitcoin, eth, as well as “defi passwords.”
The latter is presumably a mistranslation of sorts, with ETHPoW’s website not yet listing a GitHub.
“The key supporters prefer to remain anonymous,” Guo said, with their aim being “to start a safe PoW fork and to provide one more option to the existing ETH community.”
This fork seems to be at the ‘community building’ stage as far as we can tell, with Guo stating: “This is still at the very beginning of the PoW journey.”
Dapps are already debating however how they will handle a fork, with one of the more prominent defi dapp, Curve, stating:
“There is a popular topic of DAOs voting to support or not ETH-PoS / ETH-PoW.
For Curve DAO, it is impossible to force the choice of one or another (too decentralized). Fork will inevitably clone DAO and CRV, however only chain chosen by stablecoins will be viable for DAO.”
Centralized stablecoins, like USDt or USDc, can not be cloned like native crypto as you can’t clone the actual fiat which backs the token 1:1.
All centralized stablecoins however are expected to follow ethereum with the Merge upgrade to Proof of Stake.
That will give decentralized stablecoins, like DAI, a chance to rule in ETHW, the ticker for ETHPoW, because here the stablecoin can be cloned as the collateral that makes part of the stablecoin, eth, will be cloned to ethw.
DAI nowadays however is backed by all sorts of things other than eth, including real world assets as well as USDc. So this isn’t simple either and in fact it may be enough to break DAI’s peg without manual intervention as presumably its supply can’t automatically be reduced in return for 0 value assets.
However, in theory since we’ve never seen such a thing before, DAI arguably can still work, it’s just that one dai won’t be worth one dollar, but 25 cent or whatever the clonable collateral percentage is that works.
For ethw, initially you’d expect some huge liquidations of collaterals in dai as ethw’s price drops to maybe 10%, or at most 30%, of current price.
After that big bang, however, Dai with ethw and whatever other tokens keep functioning, should start working as normal.
Likewise for things like Curve. A lot will break, but probably not all. Dai can still keep working against sUSD for example, and after the initial period it can keep stabilizing sUSD at whatever peg DAI stabilizes.
With 60 developers, as they claim, a lot of this can be managed and can keep running in a stress test of sorts of natively digital assets and their operation once all centralized aspects are taken out.
However, the first test of these developers is to launch the split code. They can of course point out to Geth’s current GitHub repo and say that’s the code. In that case, the current PoW fork will just keep running with no changes at the protocol level, miners will just keep mining.
That comes with the significant risk of increasing animosity from eth holders while giving considerable ammo to stakers as just maintaining the current chain would not be a clean split and would lead to losses due to replay attacks whereby a transaction in ethw or in eth leads to a reveal of the private key whereby that transaction can be made in the other chain.
A chain id will have to be implemented and even the anti-eth ETC fork, which was claiming to be the ‘real’ eth, eventually did implement it.
Here we expect ethW to be a friendly fork, which we’ve never seen before for a chain-split. They’re not claiming ethW is the ‘real’ eth, whatever that means, and they’d be very wise to not be perceived as being anti eth.
Because if the BCH (can it be called a failure nowadays?) fork didn’t quite succeed, and if there are any lessons from that, is that being anti something isn’t quite sufficient.
The BCH crowd failed to re-adjust from ‘you’re destroying the town, we’re building our own’ to ‘look at our nice town and all the cool stuff we’re making.’ Instead they got stuck at ‘look at how rubbish this other town is’ instead of building their own ‘village’ and basically competing on their own merit.
A fair or not characterization, ethw can’t be anti eth because 100% of its holders will be eth holders, at least initially.
Some eth holders could be anti ethW, especially if they’re stakers with it unclear what will happen to the millions of eth in the staking deposit contract.
The ethW devs can decide for those to be withdrawable. The deposit smart contract is part of the protocol, so they’d have the legitimacy to make such decision.
Whether they will is for them to say, pitting here what is ‘fair’ because these stakers were not given prior choice, against a speculation narrative of 10% of ethw’s supply being burned.
Another decision these devs will have to make is whether they will follow eth or not. A bitter pill to swallow for miners may well be the fact that would mean a reduction of the reward from 13,000 a day to 2,000 eth.
No other change is needed except for removing the difficulty bomb which is set to kick in mid September.
So they can go the simple way of just removing the difficulty bomb while adding a chain id for a clean split that gives no ammo.
They can go the reckless way of changing nothing whatever, which would require a lot of warning about using ethW due to replay attack risks.
Or they can go the complete way by making those two tough decisions on staking and issuance.
Which way they will go remains to be seen once they get a GitHub, if they get one at all. The milestone here of course being the setting of the MErge block, which should be in a couple of weeks.
Preferably however they’ll do it as soon as possible so that the ecosystem can be fully sure they are completely serious, and thus the ecosystem can take the necessary measures.
They can always add the fork block later, and for a lot of entities like Coinbase it should be very easy to upgrade the ethw chain as well as of course the eth chain which they have probably been testing for months.
But such entities probably need some preparing and so, as bitcoiners used to say: show us your code devs.