Ethereum Classic Roadmap and the Road Ahead
Ethereum Classic is slowly gaining momentum. No doubt this is to the dismay of many in the Ethereum community. The chain that refuses to die is now showing green shoots of growth.
While very careful to point out that he is not leading the project, Charles Hoskinson has taken it upon himself to “kickstart the conversation” regarding the roadmap and direction for the Classic project.
The Fundamentals of Growth – A State Snapshot
Digging into the fundamentals, we see significant momentum for the Classic project to date. Specifically, miners are supporting the network, giving it a sizeable hashrate and maintaining security and network integrity.
Leaders in the China crypto space have come out expressing interest in Ethereum Classic and mining. Samson Mow has stated publicly that he is planning to launch an ETC pool.
Moving on from mining, developer interest is growing. Hoskinson’s own IOHK is already throwing resources and developer talent at the project itself. Otherwise, as Hoskinson notes, there are a number of “passionate members who have the ability to write code.”
The ETC token is listed on enough major exchanges to provide significant market liquidity. The community on Reddit is growing, with the number of subscribers ballooning to almost 2,500. Finally, the tools like wallets and block explorers are being released in a steady flow.
This is where the Ethereum Classic ecosystem finds itself at this point in time. The state snapshot is revealing.
The Road Ahead – Consensus, Governance and Code as Law
The first real, substantial, documented roadmap for Ethereum Classic starts with Charles Hoskinson’s latest community contribution. Broadly the document covers three key areas: consensus, governance and code as law.
In terms of all three the Classic project sets to distinguish itself from Ethereum at a fundamental, principled level.
Consensus and mining is where Hoskinson first distinguishes the project.
As he correctly points out, Ethereum will have a forced consensus change to Casper PoS in the near future. Whether Casper works or not is immaterial, given the net result is the same; miners will no longer be needed on Ethereum.
Hoskinson’s proposed roadmap allows for miners to continue on the Classic chain. This would incentivise them to support the project. Miners are important. So their support is not immaterial.
Hoskinson’s roadmap involves a gradual approach to a hybrid PoW / PoS system. This proposal would involve a hard fork away from the difficulty bomb.
Governance is another area addressed in Hoskinson’s roadmap.
Governance is an area where Ethereum has faced criticism from all quarters. Hoskinson’s roadmap does not envisage any support from the Ethereum foundation, instead proposing the ETC community look to existing altcoins for the best governance models.
Of particular interest is DASH and its so called “treasury model”. Though Hoskinson does introduce the idea of DAO style democracy as detailed by Ralph Merkle in his academic contributions.
Code as Law
If code is going to run as law, then it needs to be correct.
If the DAO disaster has taught us anything, it’s that making software without bugs is hard, if not impossible. Yet, this software needs to be deployed safely with better methods for secure upgrade.
Accordingly, there are three elements to this; the smart contract, the compiler, and the VM.
At the smart contract level Hoskinson points to encouraging academic research by Idris and sets as important a Meta Language that communicates intent.
In terms of the compiler, the ETC roadmap envisioned by Hoskinson has a “fairly meticulous analysis of the quality of the compiler” at its core. The CompCert project at Inria is directly cited.
On the EVM itself, Hoskinson suggests to “chain the evolution of the EVM to work being done by the broader VM community such as this paper.”
Much needed direction
Ethereum classic is likely to be around for a while. Instead of being relegated to the dustbin of history, it is gaining some momentum. Coins rarely completely die anyway. So ETC is certain to form some part of the crypto landscape, going forward.
The Classic project does need some steering, if it is to continue to be viable. Key thought leaders in the crypto community are throwing their weight behind the project. One of those is Charles Hoskinson.
Where a roadmap is needed for direction and for the community to coalesce behind, he has started the dialogue. In so doing he has given the project some much needed direction.