On the Attempt to Take Over Ethereum Classic (ETC)

TL;DR

Using ETCDEV issues with financing:
• DFG convinced me to give them access to the ETC Github
• DFG was unhappy that I was not going to agree to changes in the ETC core tech in return for them investing in ETCDEV
• Darcy Reno, ETCDEV’s Program Manager, was hired by ETC Labs/DFG and subsequently lured ETCDEV engineers to quit ETCDEV and join ETC Labs
• DFG copied all the ETCDEV code to their account on Github
• DFG took admin control of the ETC Github by removing all other admins

The past month has been very busy for us as we have been experiencing an attempt of a takeover of ETCDEV and ETC. My last post regarding our financing issues was a small part of that. I didn’t want to publish all the details at the time, but now it seems I have no other choice. I’ll try to summarize everything and make it as short as possible.

ETCDEV Funds:

I lost access to funds I was counting on for ETCDEV’s development. These were supposed to cover the next year’s burn rate. This happened right before the ETC Labs launch, so they (ETC Labs and DFG) were the first people I contacted to ask for short term help until I could figure out what to do later. They promised they would help and that I shouldn’t bother anyone else about investments, financing, or donations to ETCDEV.

Darcy Reno:

Darcy Reno was apparently a Trojan Horse in ETCDEV. Not only did he fail to do project management in general, but all he did was to gather internal information, our contacts, roadmap, and try to get control of everything else (like he was insisting to get control of my funds for development). He had his own agenda and side communications with ETC Labs.

Initial Discussions:

For the following 2 weeks we continued discussing a possible grant from ETC Labs/DFG and everything was discussed through voice calls with Terry Culver.

During these discussions he reminded me that DFG was doing a lot for ETC, but that they were not getting the respect they expected. He insisted to add a representative from DFG to the ETC Community organization on Github.

That wasn’t so simple, of course, and I explained why to him, but he was returning to that same issue in every call.

I need to emphasize here that DFG and ETC Labs have actually showed a lot support for ETC for a long time, they have been very nice and helpful, and so on.

After the N-th reminder from Terry, I finally called Cody Burns, who was another owner of the community org, we discussed this request and both agreed that ETC Labs couldn’t do anything damaging, so, why not add them? We are a decentralized community after all.

So, I added an DFG representative (krykoder) to the ETC Community GitHub as an owner. The other owners were trusted people from the beginning of ETC, since 2016.

To be clear, adding the new owner to GitHub was not as an exchange or as part of any agreement of a possible donation from their part. I made that clear to Terry, that even if we added their representative, it wasn’t and couldn’t be as a condition for a possible grant.

Darcy Reno’s switch:

Initially we were getting some progress with a grant agreement and DFG even made a small donation to cover existing expenses. But then, Darcy had an unplanned meeting with Terry Culver, James Wo and Eric Yang in Hong Kong. After that moment all discussions drastically changed and all communications paused. That means we had lost critical time to resolve our issues.

The only call I had after that with Terry Culver was short and basically consisted of one question. He asked if they invested in ETCDEV, will there be a different approach to changes to the ETC core tech, if I would do what they say, or not? I said no.

We didn’t have any communication with DFG anymore after that. They didn’t even reply to my emails and a few days later Darcy Reno said that he was changing jobs to work for ETC Labs.

ETCDEV Takeover:

It seems that they agreed that Darcy would bring ETCDEV under ETC Labs. He had all our short and long term plans, all contacts, and ETC Labs would get much more control over the protocol with him.

Without my knowledge, all the ETCDEV engineers received a call and an offer from ETC Labs with much better terms for what is supposed to be the same job.

Ethereum Classic Takeover:

Today, we also learned what the DFG representative, who was included as an owner by their request, did after joining the ETC community organization on Github.

As it can be seen in the image below, that person removed all the other owners in the organization, becoming the single owner of the ETC community codebase:

Removing an admin is not a simple operation. GitHub asks for a special confirmation and password, and it has to be done several times, and for each admin. This can’t be done by mistake as ETC Labs, together with ETC Coop, are trying to portray no.

Also, the same user copied all the existing ETCDEV projects into his own repo. That takes a lot of time as well. It’s not forking, but copying, so it cannot be made by a mistake.

UPDATE Preparations before takeover

(This part was not published initially in this post, added later)

To my knowledge, DFG and ETC Cooperative representatives had multiple secret meetings with ETCDEV engineers since the middle of summer 2018. Not only calls, but they also traveled around the world to meet people in person, make agreements and obtain some loyalty. And they were paying money to ETCDEV engineers to get such loyalty, sabotage the work and get insider information.

It’s clear now that it was a long term plan to take control of ETC and they were waiting for the right moment.

Conclusion:

We are experiencing a social attack on ETC itself right now. Unfortunately this attack is being perpetrated by internal members of the community, such as ETC Labs/DFG. ETC is a valuable asset and currently a public blockchain without a single owner. That makes it a perfect target for a takeover, even at the cost of destroying the main development group of the network.

PS Darcy Reno just deleted ETCDEV medium (as I mention, he was obsessed with admin rights, and still has such rights on many of ETCDEV properties). He tried to remove my post, because it was cross-published here.

PPS Elizabeth Kukka initially lied that ETC Labs has nothing with this, it’s only DFG. But later we found out that it’s in fact became a part of ETC Labs, now called ETC Labs Core, and they say that they have no relation to DFG (as well as to krykoder)