Leaked Ethereum Foundation Documents Show Growing Rift Before Pending Fork

TL;DR: An Ethereum Foundation working document leaked (requires Gmail open) to CoinSpice shows the community struggling to maintain cohesion ahead of its pending Constantinople, Create2 fork. Lead architect of managing the process, Afri Schoedon, recently abandoned the project altogether, explaining, “I did not quit social media, I quit Ethereum. I did not go dark, I just left the community. I am no longer coordinating hard-forks, building testnets, or contributing otherwise.” For the world’s second most popular cryptocurrency by market capitalization, the drama could not come at a worse time. 

More Spice: Bitcoin White Paper Webcomic by Comics Legend Scott McCloud

Leaked Ethereum Foundation Documents Show Growing Rift Before Pending Fork

The world’s number two cryptocurrency, a $15 billion project, had been on something of a high note. Its price rising, regaining the coveted second spot by market capitalization, Ethereum is on an upswing.

Leaked Ethereum Foundation Documents Show Growing Rift Before Pending Fork
Afri Schoedon

Cracks have begun to show, however, as suddenly key developer Afri Schoedon quit the project altogether. “Until further notice, you can reach me via [email protected], on Telegram using changing handles, and on Parity’s Riot/Github. I will no longer respond on Gitter, Skype, Discord, Slack, Wire, Twitter, and Reddit,” he tweeted.

Sources familiar with the matter, and who wish to remain anonymous, describe Schoedon’s exit came as a result of social media antagonism, along with describing him as a particularly sensitive personality. Tweets, for example, of offending exchanges detailing the context of Schoedon’s rage quitting, were deleted by the former Ethereum dev, leaving a search of his posts with large gaps.

Judas

Disagreements about certain proposals and Ethereum’s roadmap turned ugly, reportedly, on a number of social media platforms, and include accusing Schoedon of purposely delaying the project’s Constantinople fork in order to get his way. Schoedon was referred to as a “Judas,” according to sources. The fork is expected, after a couple of push backs, to finally take place later this month.

Leaked Ethereum Foundation Documents Show Growing Rift Before Pending Fork
Leaked documents from the Ethereum Foundation titled Rage Against the (Ethereum Virtual) Machine

The back and forth was enough for the lead dev begrudgingly to note, “all my contributions from 2015 up till today – including hardfork coordination – were unpaid with the sole exception for my work on the Parity Ethereum client. I ask for understanding that I am no longer interested in spending my free time here,” insisting, “If you have an exciting project that really matters and does not come with a token, send me a mail. I care for radical decentralization and privacy-enhancing projects, data, security, and empowerment. I have lot of free time now,” Schoedon chided.

This means a rather large upgrade is without a manager, and the fork is mere days away. Ethereum partisans also describe Schoedon as not malicious, just emotional, and told CoinSpice dislike for him within certain parts of the community were “deep rooted.” More than a few off the record comments insist the current drama’s genesis has to do with Schoedon working to recover Parity’s lost funds after hundreds of millions of dollars were accidentally frozen in a technical smart contract snafu. Schoedon has reportedly advocated for a change in protocol to enable such a recovery.

Rage Against the (Ethereum Virtual) Machine

A similar proposal was rejected by the community, and members believe Schoedon attempted to override the veto by changing their rejection to acceptance “without any reason,” a person close to the debate told CoinSpice in confidence.

Leaked Ethereum Foundation Documents Show Growing Rift Before Pending Fork
Rage document with comment

The events have since turned into an online session by the Ethereum Foundation to manage any public relations damage. Below are working documents CoinSpice obtained, showing how current project leaders plan to address the subject. It’s a rare, intimate look into how final, polished press releases are made.

Leaked Ethereum Foundation Documents Show Growing Rift Before Pending Fork

We reprint them here in their entirety:

NOTE: THIS WILL BE POSTED IN THE MAGICIANS FORUM (EVERYONE CAN READ) AND MEDIUM – account tbd – just not personal 🙂

UPDATE 9:02 CEST 19 feb – Jason from my crypto has offered a second opinion on crisis comms, if anyone wants to join the call comment here.

CONTRIBUTION NOTES: ONLY COMMENT OR IN SUGGEST MODE.
There is a V2 by Shiv Malik at the bottom of the doc, please state your preference.

——————————————————————–

Rage Against the (Ethereum Virtual) Machine

Disclaimer: In our usual provocative style, the title of this article intends to explain the byproduct of events which unfolded this weekend in a light-hearted manner.
This statement started as a DoD initiative but after being shared with various groups of people working on and for Ethereum and blockchain, it became a collaborative effort for people working in the space to voice their concerns on integrity.

Entities around open source decentralized projects, hackerspaces, and associations are born every day to push open source development, the people behind it, and to grow awareness by educating the community. These past days, a collaborator, and the catalyzer of the Görli Testnet, Afri, has been in the center of a storm on r/ethtrader that, triggered by a couple of tweets, turned menacing, dark and most importantly, reflected exactly the kind of toxicity that we as a community should avoid.

We, the contributors and workers behind the projects and those seeking to build better systems, categorically reject these actions. Even though we understand that the style of Afri’s tweets was provocative, these were opinions made in a personal capacity. While some of the complaints were valid and respectful, a small but vocal minority resorted to impugning Afri’s reputation by asserting his involvement in wild conspiracies, issuing personal threats, to demands to Vitalik for actions, etc. have gone far beyond acceptable standards of debate. Threats against a person’s well-being can never be justified.

We believe the Ethereum community is a progressive community that values freedom, free speech, and privacy, but humanity and better systems above all.

It is, therefore, our responsibility to protect each other and to preserve the existence of the tools and infrastructure we work so hard on building.

Now to how this might affect Ethereum. The network is built, maintained and scaled by HUMANS. These humans are not on 24/7 call, they are entitled to their opinions, and any means they want to express them in. The toxicity of recent events has upset some of the minds behind the project, and hurt a lot of contributors, whether developers or not.
To those involved in these acts: besides the reasonable steps already suggested, how do you expect us to move past this, as humans? Don’t you realize how much this intimidates us? The voices behind Ethereum have shared their thoughts. We still need more, of course. Peter Szilagyi’s tweet expresses clearly what’s happened historically with OSS devs:

Some redittors asked for people from Ethereum to weigh in, here they are:


t

But people mass downvote them on Reddit and refuse to accept that we reject this mob mentality.

There is no silver bullet to solve Ethereum’s governance so far. Opinions deserve their place, recognition, and analysis. What happened this weekend drowned a very valuable Ethereum contributor under a sea of hatred — just for speaking his mind.

Understanding that internet trolling may be rooted in frustration or a sense of powerlessness by certain individuals, and knowing that there have been communications problems in the past, we are committed to finding ways to improve feedback between the community and key contributors and organizations. We can make use of and extend processes which are already in place for technical and educational discussions so that the concerns of the wider community may be better heard and understood. We can make use of Reddit and other social media as well.

In the meantime, we will continue to reject any campaign of hate. We will not accept, nor look away. We will stand up against it. We will continue to have healthy conversations where by default we assume positive intent and seek to understand the motivations behind our actions and comments. We support Afri and will stand by and protect any others that might feel intimidated, at any given time. Machines are built by humans, we must preserve the mental and emotional health of those humans — especially as they labor through their nights, weekends, often without pay in order to manifest the mission and vision of Ethereum. Accountability over product will always be more important than accountability over personal opinions.

Ethereum, like any other chain, is experimenting with technologies never seen before. We may need to professionalize, but first and foremost we need to collaborate and learn from other teams, organize and thrive in this ever-changing ecosystem. As we build fairer systems, let’s also ensure that we build better protocols for expressing community concerns. Feel free to join the conversation in Paris.

We believe in a future where many chains will be able to coexist and cooperate. Let’s work more in improving divisions, by first uniting and fixing our own community.

Signatures (sorted alphabetically)

Adam Kolar (Solidified)
Adrian Manning (Sigma Prime – Lighthouse eth 2.0)
Aidan Hyman (ChainSafe Systems- Lodestar eth 2.0 )
Alex Boerger (ETHBerlin – DoD)
Alex Van de Sande (Ethereum Foundation)
Andrew (@cyber_hokie, AO.capital, EthHub Contributor)
Anthony Lusardi (ETC Cooperative)
Arjun Bhuptani (Connext)
Arlyn Culwick (the Blocknet)
Auryn Macmillan (Colony)
Ben Edgington (PegaSys)
Boris Mann
Bryant Eisenbach (fubuloubu)
Caspar Schwa (DoD – ETHBerlin – brainbot)
Chelsea Palmer (Carpe Lunam Events)
Chris Fenos (ChainSafe Systems- Lodestar eth 2.0)
Chris Hutchinson (Status)
Colin Schwarz (ChainSafe – Lodestar eth 2.0)
Coogan Brennan (ConsenSys Academy)
Corey Petty (Status, Hashing It Out, The Bitcoin Podcast Network)
Daud Zulfacar (license.rocks – Berlin Blockchain Week)
Dave Appleton (HelloGold, Akomba Labs)
David Ansermino (ChainSafe)
Dean Eigenmann (ENS & ZK Labs)
Dustin Brickwood (ChainSafe – Lodestar eth 2.0)
E.G. Galano (@egalano Infura)
Elias Haase (B9lab – DoD)
Elissa Shevinsky (ETH Secure group, Soho Token Labs)
Elizabeth Binks (ChainSafe)
exiledsurfer (DoD)
Fábio Hildebrand (Solidified)
Fanny Lakoubay (Snark.art)
Fauve Altman (State of the DApps – BerChain)
Franziska Heintel (Brainbot – DoD)
Gonçalo Sá (@GNSPS)
Gregory Markou (ChainSafe)
Guto Martino (Dezentral – DoD)
Helena Flack (Quantstamp – ETHBerlin- DoD)
Hudson Jameson (Ethereum Foundation)
Igor Mandrigin (Status)
Jacek Sieka (Status)
Jack Gane (Authio)
James Hancock (a Nobody in Berlin)
James Moreau (@jrmoreau)
James Quinn (Independent Ethereum Developer)
Jamie Pitts (Eth. Foundation, Eth. Magicians, Eth. Financial Tools)
Jérôme de Tychey (Asseth – ConsenSys)
John Light (Aragon One)
Joshua Mir (Parity Tech)
Kirill Pimenov (Parity Tech)
Kris Jones (Canada – just a social researcher that wants to see blockchain succeed and maintain healthy feedback mechanisms)
Laura Giron (ConsenSys Design @lauragirons)
Leo Arias (Zeppelin)
ligi (EF – WallETH – DoD)
Lili Feyerabend (radi.cards – DoD)
Luke Anderson (Sigma Prime – Lighthouse eth 2.0)
Maciej Hirsz (Parity Tech)
María Paula Fernández (Golem- ETHBerlin – DoD)
Martin Holst Swende (EF)
Martin Lundfall (Dapphub)
Martin Quensel (Centrifuge)
Matej Nemcek (Progressbar, @yangwao, independent Ethereum developer)
Matt Condon (XLNT)
Simona Pop (Bounties Network)
Maya Byskov (Centrifuge – Berlin Blockchain Week)
Mehdi Zerouali (Sigma Prime – Lighthouse eth 2.0)
Mudit Gupta (Polymath)
Nathalia Scherer (DAOstack)
Nick Johnson (Ethereum Name Service)
Nick Munoz-McDonald (Melon Technical Council)
Nicolas Liochon (ConsenSys – PegaSys)
Niran Babalola (Panvala)
Paul Vienhage – (Authio)
Pet3rpan (MetaCartel)
Philip Stehlik (Centrifuge – DoD)
Piper Merriam (Snake Charmer)
Preston Van Loon (Prysmatic Labs – Prysm eth 2.0)
Priom Chowdhury (ChainSafe – Lodestar eth 2.0)
Raul Romanutti (Parity Tech – DoD)
Rex Hygate (SecurEth)
Robert Habermeier (Parity Tech)
Scott Moore (Gitcoin)
Shiv Malik (Streamr)
Stina Gustafsson (DoD)
Stu Peters (Chainsafe)
Terence Tsao (Prysmatic Labs – Prysm eth 2.0)
Tim Beiko – (PegaSys)
Tim Daubenschütz (Independent Ethereum Developer)
Tomasz Kolinko (Eveem)
Will Villanueva (R&D)
Yalda Mousavinia (Autark – Space Decentral)

(*feel free to comment to this post with your name and we’ll add)

Timeline of events and posts for reference

Pitchforks are for hay, not hate.

Shiv: on a plane but here’s a trimmed version which may circumvent escalation.

Rage Against the (Ethereum Virtual) Machine

Disclaimer: In our usual provocative style, the title of this article intends to explain the byproduct of events which unfolded this weekend in a light-hearted manner.

This statement started as a DoD initiative but after being shared with various groups of people working on and for Ethereum and blockchain, it became a collaborative effort for people working in the space to voice their concerns on integrity.

Entities around open source decentralized projects, hackerspaces, and associations are born every day to promote development and to grow awareness by educating people about the value of software that is transparent, protective of freedom and aids peer-to-peer coordination.

During the last few days, one of our collaborators, friends, and the catalyzer of the Görli Testnet, Afri, was forced into the center of a storm on r/ethtrader that, triggered by a couple of tweets issued by Afri, turned menacing, dark and most importantly, reflected exactly the kind of toxicity that we as a community should avoid.

We, the undersigned, contributors and workers behind scores of projects, and those seeking to build better systems, categorically reject these actions. While we acknowledge that the intention of Afri’s tweets was to be provocative, these were opinions made in a personal capacity. And while complaints were valid and made respectfully, others within the wider Ethereum community resorted to impugning Afri’s reputation by asserting his involvement in wild conspiracies, demanding his immediate resignation, and most disturbing of all, issuing personal threats. We feel that these actions went far beyond acceptable standards of debate: whatever the circumstance, threats against a person’s well-being can never be justified.

We believe the Ethereum community values freedom, free speech, and privacy, but above all, it values basic respect for all human beings and seeks to promote and build systems which in turn promote and incentivize those very values.

The Ethereum network is built, maintained and scaled by HUMANS. Though we are a global community, no single individual can be expected to be on call 24/7. Although many contributors represent projects funded by a vast array of people around the world, those contributors are entitled to express personal opinions through any medium they choose.

It is hugely upsetting and chilling of free speech when any contributor, whether a developer, community builder or otherwise, is attacked, intimidated and is deliberately made to feel unsafe. And this is far from the first time similar acts have been perpetrated. To name a few, Lane Rettig’s innocent post on wanting more diversity in the space, sparked unnecessary and biased comments, accusations of the likes “eth2 being late because developers were spending time on thinking other stuff” and worse.
Taylor Monahan, who has been tirelessly spearheading initiatives to protect users, raising awareness about security and usability and contributing largely to the space, was targeted as well on Reddit, seemingly after expressing she liked other technologies too, and when MyCrypto was born.

As members of the contributor community, we feel it our responsibility to protect our fellow contributors and protect free speech for all. We must also preserve the mental and emotional health of those humans — especially as they labor through their nights, weekends, often without pay in order to manifest the mission and vision of Ethereum. So we support Afri and will stand by and protect any others that might feel intimidated, at any given time.

Ethereum governance, which includes how to hold the decisions of core devs to wider scrutiny, is one of our most pressing issues.

Ethereum, like any other chain, is experimenting with technologies never seen before. We may need to professionalize, but first and foremost we need to collaborate and learn from other teams, organize and thrive in this ever-changing ecosystem. As we build fairer systems, let’s also ensure that we build better protocols for expressing community concerns. Feel free to join the conversation in Paris.

We believe in a future where many chains will be able to coexist and cooperate. Let’s work more in improving divisions, by first uniting and fixing our own community.

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