Ethereum users voted Tuesday not to patch a smart contract accidentally destroyed by a junior developer at Parity last November. The mistake has frozen access to $360 million dollars worth of client ether held in digital wallets managed by the company.
The contract was reportedly destroyed when the junior developer encountered a software bug while scanning code.
Originally billed as a “smart contract coding company,” Parity.io was started by former Ethereum CTO Gavin Wood in 2015. The company is said to manage about a quarter of Ethereum’s network nodes.
Parity, which now calls itself “the world’s most advanced Ethereum client and user interface” also lost 150,000 client ETH last July in a hack on Parity wallets. The funds would be worth over $80 million dollars today.
According to Coindesk, clients affected by the July hack included a number of firms storing Ethereum raised in recent ICOs (Initial Coin Offerings). Affected parties included Edgeless Casino, Swarm City, and æternity
587 Parity wallets were frozen in the November incident.
Parity is reported to have lost access to $98 million dollars of it own funds raised in an $145 million ICO (Initial Coin Offering). The funds were allocated towards a “Web3 blockchain of blockchains” project the company was planning, a project called “Polka Dot.”
A proposal for the vote on whether or not to “patch” the frozen contract was posted to the Ethereum community at Github.com:
“This proposal suggests restoring the WalletLibrary by a patched version to allow the owners of the dependent multi-signature wallets (to) regain access to their assets.”
This proposal is necessary because the Ethereum protocol does not allow the restoration of self-destructed contracts and there is no other simple way to enable the affected users and companies regaining (sic) access to their tokens and Ether.”
Vote results were posted at etherchain.org. A total of 639 votes were cast, with 39.4% in favour, 55% against and 5.6% neutral towards the motion.
Prior to the vote, many commentators advised against Ethereum “bailing out” constituents because doing so could be perceived as a central banking-style intervention into the network.