Is the Parity Team and Ethereum Splitting?

3 min


“Enough of the past; endings surely beckon opportunity if only you search enough.” So said Gavin Wood in 2016, announcing without much fanfare or detail his departure from his then role of CTO at the Ethereum Foundation.

A new life was to begin at Parity Technologies, which today has its big event, DotCon 0.

A new blockchain will soon be coming with a somewhat different approach in that it tries to scale by having application specific parachains or blockchains. Sort of different neighbourhoods that are still within a “solar system” revolving around a main Polkadot chain with the Dot token being the governing and incentivizing tool.

“We will either solve the scalability and consensus problems or die trying,” Vitalik Buterin, the current Chief Scientist at the Ethereum Foundation, said back in 2014.

That was at a time before even ethereum’s pre-sale had begun. Charles Hoskinson had just left, although his description sounds like he was fired. “It’s good to be home with my family and finally with a more relaxed schedule,” he said at the time.

There was a change of plan, Buterin said. “We had the idea that we would have a dual mandate, both building the basic infrastructure and then eventually focusing on applications…

Now, I and the other core members of our team have decided that it doesn’t really make sense for us to centralize everything under one bureaucracy (well, duh), and we are instead pursuing the more focused mission of producing the Ethereum technology and surrounding basic infrastructure, allowing the free market to build out the for-profit and corporate-facing parts of the ecosystem.”

“It didn’t take the route of what you’d expect a technological venture to take,” Wood said in an interview in 2016 after stating that some made more money than others.

He chose his words very carefully, but he basically said that you’d expect two or three people to take the lion share of the tokens, while the distribution in this case was more inclusive.

Hoskinson now is soon to launch Cardano, generally perceived as something completely different to ethereum. While Parity is one of the main eth client.

“The spam attacks weren’t designed to destroy Ethereum, as people have mentioned, different attacks happened at different times, seems like the attacker was trying to give the Ethereum team a chance to form solutions,” so said a longstanding eth supporter sometime in 2016-17.

He was referring to a somewhat harmless DDoS attack on ethereum in 2016 just as Devcon Shanghai was about to open.

The attack had no effect on coins, consensus rules or anything, but overloaded Geth nodes to the point they were not really able to function. Parity, on the other hand, was completely unaffected and so rose to become one of the main client.

Péter Szilágyi, a developer at the Ethereum Foundation, would let off some steam now and then aimed at Parity, but with no one wanting “trouble,” it was all left hush hush.

When a noob accidentally froze 500,000 eth, which was raised in the Polkadot ICO, the “signal” kind of nudged the many to say no to any changing of consensus rules to unfreeze the eth.

“Please stop deploying d-apps to Ethereum. We are running at capacity,” Afri Schoedon, a client release manager at Parity Tech, said this September. Raising eyebrows for many as to why  such a statement would be made so unequivocally.

The testnet for the biggest upgrade of the year was then delayed, with the delay announced on October the fourth. A day after, Schoedon said:

“The Substrate testnet milestone is probably the most exciting milestone on the roadmap to the Polkadot launch. I can’t stress this enough.”

Ethereum’s testnet upgrade was launched, but a bug in Parity led to a chainsplit. Schoedon immediately declared the November planned mainnet upgrade as now delayed to January. Coming to aid Jutta Steiner, CEO of Parity tech, said:

“In a consensus system that so far has relied on client independent specification, a fork between the two main implementations is *the* ultimate show stopper.”

If one such implementation now competes with ethereum and perhaps has an incentive to stop the show, then the chances of a fork might increase.

Raising the delicate question of how, what are clearly two competing teams, can still co-operate with each other.

A question that has no easy answer, but has obvious dangers. That’s because if indeed such under the surface politicking has been occurring, then it is perhaps best for both to stop pretending they are part of the same team.

Energy can far better be used to build things than slow down competitors. That’s because the many chains or a sharded chain may well be complementary to each other rather than exclusive.

With history so rhyming once again, and very much right in time. Bitcoin and BCH didn’t quite innovate more than just split the chain, but is it here really any different?

You can name a table a desk if you like, or a shard a parachain, but ultimately the end game is quite the same: massive scalability.

With there being no real ideological split as far as we can see, just a different approach that really sounds very much the same.

Yet competition can only be good for the end users, as long as neither engages in dirty tricks. Something which may perhaps be too much to ask as cunningness with humans arrives, but for bitcoin and BCH it worked fine. They both roared, and roared loud.

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Lewis

Lewis is a freelance journalist, digital nomad, and crypto enthusiast based out of US. As an avid observer of the rapidly evolving blockchain ecosystem he specializes in the FinTech sector, and when not writing explores the technological landscape of US.

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