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About Ethereum Classic
Ethereum Classic (ETC) is a second generation blockchain, a network, a community, and a cryptocurrency. In addition to allowing people to send amounts of value to each other, ETC allows for complex contracts that operate autonomously and cannot be modified or censored.
Both Ethereum Classic and Ethereum (ETH) have a value token called ‘Ether’, which can be transferred between participants, stored in a cryptocurrency wallet, and used to compensate participant nodes for computations performed on the Ethereum Platform.
The Ethereum concept was initially described in a white paper by Vitalik Buterin, a Russian-Canadian programmer in late 2013. Development was funded by an online crowdsale that took place between July and August 2014, with the Ethereum system going live on 30 July 2015.
Two years after Ethereum’s launch there was a hack which caused a split in the community, often described as a ‘battle of ethics and ideology’. The victims were investors in a fund called the DAO (Decentralized Autonomous Organization), which was launched by the Ethereum community as a decentralized investment fund for smart contract projects.
Instead of a few venture capitalist partners making decisions on which projects to invest in, DAO holders were promised a voting input in investments. The project was so popular that the ICO attracted over $150 million in funding.
In June, 3.6 million Ether (worth approximately $50 million USD) was taken from accounts in the DAO and moved to another account without the owners' consent, exploiting one of several vulnerabilities that had already been flagged by community members. A loophole in the code allowed someone to repeat a refund request multiple times for the same DAO tokens before the transaction could be registered on the system. The recursive function was able to run until a third of DAO’s funds were siphoned off.
Ironically the stolen currency can never be spent because the code in the blockchain would allow them to be traced. Following the hack, there was a majority decision that Ethereum needed to fork and create something new from scratch.
The new protocol retained the original name Ethereum (ETH) because of the amount of community support for the fork. It functions on a brand new blockchain, and the vast majority of miners, users, and protocol from the previous version of Ethereum use this new version. In this sense, Ethereum functions more like a software company. ETH’s primary value is in its use case scenarios and community support. The Ethereum Alliance, for example, consists of billion-dollar firms such as Accenture, JP Morgan, Microsoft, and UBS. The Ethereum chain that forked (ETH) was able to retrieve the $50 million that was hacked and return it to investors.
Ethereum Classic (ETC) has a new name but is the original version of the Ethereum protocol using the original blockchain. Only 10% of the community was in favor of keeping it, but it is said to still retain value because of the speculative nature of the crypto market.