The Corporate Capture of Ethereum Classic by ETC Labs

On February 18th, 2019 Tomasz Zdybał, a core developer at TRON and volunteer developer on Ethereum Classic (ETC), noticed that the “core developer” team in ETC, a company called ETC Labs had created a parallel corporate Ethereum Classic Improvement Proposal (ECIP) which they named after their brand Ethereum Classic Labs Improvement Proposal (ECLIP).

The purpose of this highly unusual action became apparent when browsing the comments in one of their ECLIPs where they mention the ETC community as “separatists” as if it were like ETA, the Basque guerrilla group in Spain, or a subversive minority somewhere in the world.

Not only that, but in a comment one of their employees, who goes by the name of “classiclab”, wrote this:

Comment by ETC Labs employee “classiclab” on GitHub.

The problems with the statements above are:

  1. That the ‘ethereumclassic’ repo in GitHub IS the ETC community recognized repo after an attack by the GitHub KryKoder user, who is also an employee of ETC Labs (to be clear, DFG, their parent company) who had hijacked the ‘ethereumproject’ repo, which was the original ETC organization in GitHub.
  2. That ETC Labs is officially refusing to cooperate with the ETC community and arbitrarily going their own way.
  3. That they are positioning themselves as some kind of superior leader in the ETC blockchain community and forcing the rest of the community to ‘follow their lead’.
  4. That they will go forward with their arbitrary roadmap without paying attention or ‘depending’ on the community.
  5. That they WILL include the deprecated and captured ‘ethereumproject’ repo in GitHub.
  6. That they only acknowledge the Go-Ethereum client, which is the deprecated and captured Classic Geth client in that repository, as the canonical one, instead of the one in the ‘ethereumclassic’ repository.

Needless is to say is that not only all the actions expressed and taken by ETC Labs above are absolutely contrary to the ETC community ethos in particular, but also to any public blockchain modus operandi and procedures in general.

ETC Labs is in a frank long term campaign to capture development of ETC:

But the above was not an isolated action by DFG/ETC Labs/ETC Labs Core. This corporate group has been in a long term campaign to capture ETC.

Following are the series of actions DFG (parent company of ETC Labs), ETC Labs (a San Francisco based incubator) and ETC Labs Core (their core development arm) have done in the last ~12 months in their process to implement their corporate capture of the ETC blockchain network:

  1. March 2018: Captured the ETC community in China from the local community lead, Roy Zou.
  2. October 2018: Promised funding to ETCDEV (the previous core development company) and told Igor Artamonov (ETCDEV’s founder) to not look for funding elsewhere.
  3. November 2018: Installed ‘KryKoder’ in the Ethereum Project repository in Github, by tricking it’s admins, and then excluding all the admins, including the ones that gave them access.
  4. November 2018: Defunded ETCDEV and poached all developers.
  5. December 2018: Announced to the community that they defunded ETCDEV and poached all developers “for the good of ETC”.
  6. December 2018: Announced to the community that the Ethereum Project in GitHub will be returned to the community only after an ETC Foundation is started and access will only be given to those in the foundation.
  7. December 2018: Acknowledged all their malicious actions above, and promised again they would return access to more admins, but this time “in a democratic manner” and that would happen “soon enough”.
  8. February 2019: Created the ECLIP (Ethereum Classic Labs Improvement Proposal) to bypass the community ECIP process, stated that they will not cooperate with the community, stated that the community must follow ETC Labs lead, and only recognized ‘ethereumproject’, controlled by KryKoder, as the only valid GitHub repository and defined the deprecated go-ethereum client there as the “canonical client”.

Conclusion:

The ETC community is still small and, in this bear market, lacks funding from volunteer investors or other sources to initiate new core maintenance and development projects or pay new core developers quickly. This is because there are no leaders, foundations, pre-mines, treasuries, protocol taxation or any other financing gimmicks that so much contaminate other centralized projects. However, the downside is that this attacker (DFG/ETC Labs/ETC Labs Core) is well financed, has a large and experienced developer team and may complete a full capture of the network.

We have only one option: we must resist this attack.

As readers may appreciate, the worst that has happened to ETC in the last year were not the 51% double-spend attacks, but an attack to capture the network by what was at one point an internal ‘trusted’ and ‘friendly’ community member. But don’t worry, ETC is a cockroach and we will prevail.