The developers behind Ethereum are hacking the hacker who hacked it – Quartz

Hacking is a one-way street.

The main developers behind Ethereum, which supports a Bitcoin-like cryptocurrency, have launched an attack on an anonymous hacker who has stolen at least $ 89 million through its network.

Alex Van Der Sande, lead designer of Ethereum, announced the counterattack on Twitter today. In four hours, the core developers were able to get back more than 7 million of their ethereal currency, or $ 89 million, depending on the wallet address where the funds are stored.

Ethereum’s developers are trying to get money invested in the Distributed Autonomous Organization (DAO), which raised $ 150 million for the largest crowdfunding project in history. The anonymous hacker published an open letter in which he merely uncovered a loophole in Ethereum’s intelligent contract system and the funds were “legally claimed”. How much the hacker stole is still unclear.

The hack shattered trust in Ethereum, which has piqued the interest of companies like IBM and Microsoft. There are other ways in theory to get the funds, but they could also detract from the community’s trust in the network, as Quartz’s Joz Wong Ian wrote:

Stephan Tual, co-founder of a startup called Slock.it that helped found the DAO, says there is a way to fix the problem and make the Ethereum economy more resilient. The Ethereum miners, who decide which transactions form the permanent data set of the cryptocurrency, can jointly agree on a “rollback” in which the Ethereum blockchain is rewound up to a certain point in time before the hack. The transactions for the stolen funds would effectively be voided and deleted from the record. “It shows that the community can work together for the common good,” says Tual.

This is not as crazy as it sounds. Bitcoin miners did at least one rollback in 2010 to fix a technical bug. But Bitcoin traded for pennies back then, a far cry from the $ 11.5 billion Bitcoin in circulation today. Ether at current prices is worth a lot of money. All of the ether in circulation today is valued at around $ 1.3 billion at current prices.

Another question is whether a rollback dangerously undermines a cryptocurrency that is supposed to be decentralized and beyond the control of any single party or group. Tual also has an argument against it. “You have to compare this to a central bank server where you can easily change numbers without anyone noticing,” he says. “In this case it is completely different. When all the miners get together and [do a rollback]It’s a community action. And it’s transparent, completely transparent. “

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