The $150m was stolen from Ethereum itself and must be returned.

There’s a black hole where there used to be $150m* of investment for Ethereum. We’ve heard many technical and moral arguments, now I’m making an economic one which is critical for everyone vested in the Ethereum project.

This $150m was committed to The DAO in order to back projects built on Ethereum, it was not a pure single purpose project in itself unlike some random casino. The attacker has stolen the funding for a very large number of projects, which would have gone on to provide utility, features and safety for Ethereum, i.e. value.

Projects that would have brought mainstream users to Ethereum through innovation; helped security or provided better mining software; and provided scaling and other core features. Some of them would have been pure money makers too. And many of them would have failed. That money was also $150m of jobs, of expertise to bring to or retain in Ethereum. Governments kill for that kind of inward investment (literally probably!).

This was all of our money, we just didn’t realise it.

Whatever one may feel about the risks and motives of The DAO creators or investors, the money itself was for the Ethereum ecosystem. It was for all of us. The thief stole from Ethereum itself, not from a casino or a random company. The thief stole from all of us, even those of us who are not part of The DAO. We are in this together.

It has to be given back for that reason alone, otherwise what are we doing here in the first place.

I’ll end on a rant:

All of cryptocurrency is at a crossroads. For too long we’ve said the system must prevail. No, the system is supposed to work for human beings and at some point enough is enough. For too long bad actors have got away free, damaging Bitcoin, NXT et al whilst laughing all the way to the bank. Every. Single. Time.

Now they can, excuse my language, fuck off. I’m fed up with them screwing over the hard work of many others, of screwing communities, of ruining lives — which I’ve seen first hand, with their out and out criminal behaviour.

Banksters told us the system must prevail and they continue to screw the people over and over on that premiss. If we don’t deal with this, we’re no better than the very people and systems we want to replace. Oh how deep the irony.**

*The effective theft is now $150m as the white hat account has been corrupted by an attack.

** I’m not advocating transaction reversal and hard forks in the general case, I’m advocating setting the line here and now as we have a case we can fix, then establishing cross cryptocurrency mechanisms that prioritise security. This includes protection from exchange thefts through mathematically proven smart contracts in Ethereum or layers on top of Bitcoin/alts. This is a cryptocurrency problem because raw currency is like dynamite.

For those who don’t believe this is possible and that e.g. Ethereum or Solidity is flawed, consider that HFT software is written in procedural languages, they just use throttles and other safety mechanisms. We can do the same, we just need time to establish norms, audits, mechanisms, and real world human protection from exploits for those who want it.

And for those who suggest Nakamoto Consensus has to be upheld as it’s too fundamental, ponder upon exactly what that is. It allows untrusted actors to make a decision by consensus. It says nothing about immutability, protocols, thefts, DAOs, casinos, exchanges, smart contracts, etc. Human beings make those decisions, human beings agree protocols, human beings adapt systems, human beings take the consequences.

I understand the argument but it’s dogmatic and fails to take in the wider consequences, at least whilst the technology is immature. The community needs ethics, and note that those same ethics will also stop abuse by authorities.

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