Ethereum Special Projects announces 15,000 ETC donation to Ethereum Classic Cooperative

Virgil Griffith
3 min readOct 30, 2018

If you’ve followed the Ethereum world, you have probably heard of The DAO hack, the ensuing hard fork debate, and the resulting decision to fork the Ethereum chain to prevent a substantial loss of ether to the DAO attacker (~4.2% of all ETH in circulation).

This “socially motivated hardfork” had its vocal detractors who saw this change as a violation of implicitly pre-agreed consensus rules that only the owner (private key) of an address had authority over its property. These detractors voted with their feet and formed Ethereum Classic (ETC), a chain and community favoring more purist sensibilities. Shortly after it became clear that ETC was here to stay, the Ethereum Foundation wished to avoid the appearance of impropriety and sold its ETC tokens.

For the next two years, the two Ethereums largely ignored each other with interactions limited to occasional Twitter bickering. But in May 2018 relations began to soften when the Ethereum Foundation invited Anthony Lusardi to speak at the EDCON conference on How ETC and ETH can work together. The Ethereum Classic Cooperative then likewise invited yours truly to speak at the ETC Summit on the same topic.

With a mostly positive reception to each talk, some concrete follow-ups have been:

  1. The Ethereum Foundation and the ETC Cooperative are jointly funding Akomba Labs to build the ETH-ETC peaceBridge to represent each chain’s transactions on the other.
  2. Fracticious yet semi-productive engagement between IOHK’s research team and Ethereum Research on proof of stake consensus algorithms.
  3. A commitment that IOHK’s Ethereum Classic client, Mantis, will support ETH.

As the winter was ending, a financial sweep through old Foundation wallets revealed some unsold ETC. To celebrate and foster these thawing tensions, we have decided to donate 15,000 ETC (~$150,000 USD as of this writing) to the Ethereum Classic Cooperative. This decision will undoubtedly be met by some with confusion — after all, this is funding that could go into the next wave of grants. Here is our reasoning for why this donation is in Ethereum’s interest:

  1. Quality Engineering. Putting ideology and governance aside, the ETC community has some quality talent, for example:

2. Uniting for Great Good. Beyond our usual unicorn benevolence, this is an opportunity to bury the hatchet between our two communities. Will ETH and ETC suddenly become best friends? Probably not. But if you look at the top 25 coins, ETC and ETH is certainly one of the closest pairs in both tech stack and vision. The crypto world (including ETH and ETC) is well-capitalized and the world awaits for us to create something amazing. Meeting these expectations will not be easy. As such it is in our mutual interest to work together, wherever possible, to meet them. This donation is the Ethereum Foundation investing in a long-term positive-sum relationship with ETC.

3. Deep down, we’ll always love you. The divorce was bitter. And the narcissism of small differences will continue to raise its head within our two communities. But deep down, the ETC community will always be a part of us by both history and vision.

Live long and prosper. 🖖