A controversial solution to a massive theft of Ether was implemented on Wednesday. If it works, it will see tens of millions of dollars returned to the original owners, but doing so may harm the reputation of the platform on which that currency was created.
The “hard fork” of the underlying software behind Ethereum went live Wednesday morning, with miners, developers, and users being give a choice of whether or not to adopt it, setting up a rare and philosophically fraught decision for the fledgling community. If the fork gets adopted, a massive fraud will be reversed – but doing so may harm the integrity of the underlying platform. In June, one of those applications, a venture fund called TheDAO was attacked, with the malefactor taking $60 million worth of Ethereum’s native currency, called ether. In the month since, the only viable solution has been this hard fork, which would effectively erase the transactions that created the theft and return the funds to their original owners.