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Ethereum Classic Doesn't Have Kings, Presidents, CEO's, or Administrators

Donald McIntyre

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There is a misconception in the industry that blockchains with large ICO’s (Initial Coin Offerings), venture capital (VC) funding, big development teams, and well funded foundations or corporations managing them must be good and respectable.

However, this can’t be further from the truth. Blockchain projects, especially layer 1 networks, must be as decentralized as possible, and things such as ICO’s, VC’s, prominent lead developer teams, and foundations are strong markers of centralization.

Just as monarchies have kings, countries have presidents, and corporations or centralized computing systems have CEOs and administrators, truly decentralized blockchains must not have any of these leading or directing them.

Bitcoin Was Centralized Initially

Nevertheless, it may sound counterintuitive, but many of the most decentralized blockchains in the world today actually started as centralized systems.

Bitcoin (BTC), for example, started in 2009 with two nodes, one ran by its creator, Satoshi Nakamoto, and the other by Hal Finney.

Initially, Mr. Finney suggested several recommendations and bug fixes to Mr. Nakamoto, and he would unilaterally integrate them in the repository where the client software was stored.

Later, developers Gavin Andresen and Jeff Garzik were added to the software repository, but Mr. Nakamoto kept centralized control of all decisions in the systems.

However, Bitcoin Is Now Decentralized at Scale

What made Bitcoin centralized in its early stages were several factors that don’t exist anymore today. The first factor was, as explained in the previous section, that one man directed and decided all changes in the system.

The second factor was that, because a personality as important as the founder of the technology was at its helm, everyone running nodes would follow his lead. We could say, metaphorically, that Bitcoin had a king at this time.

The third factor was that, for a while, Bitcoin node operation and mining were not distinguishable or separated activities. Indeed, just by downloading and running the client, any computer could mine BTC because the computing base dedicated to it was so small.

However, now, at scale, Bitcoin has more than 900 contributor developers across the world, it is operated by tens of thousands of nodes globally that are divided between miners and verifying nodes, its hashingrate is enormous, and its founder disappeared in 2010.

Ethereum Classic Was Also Centralized Initially

Ethereum (ETH) and Ethereum Classic (ETC) were both one blockchain in the beginning. What caused the separation of both systems was an event called The DAO hard fork that happened in 2016.

Initially, Ethereum, as a single system, was quite centralized because it was funded by a large crowdfund effort organized by its founder, Vitalik Buterin, and his team of colleagues; the initial coin holders were a limited number of investors; a significant portion of the initial coins went to the developers and the Ethereum Foundation; and, today, the Ethereum Foundation counts with hundreds of millions of dollars from its initial funding effort to continue directing development.

To this day, Vitalik Buterin continues to lead the project and the Ethereum ecosystem usually follows his directions. We could say, metaphorically, that Ethereum has a president or CEO at this time.

The Initial Centralization Caused The DAO Hard Fork

Indeed, it was a curious event that The DAO hard fork at the time was so easy to pull given that the unified blockchain, Ethereum, was a proof of work network.

However, the explanation to this is that Ethereum had not reached any significant scale at the time; it was, as is now, led by its founder; the Ethereum Foundation controlled development through its funding; and all ecosystem node operators and miners were just following the leaders’ commands.

Today, this leadership is so strong, and its followers so financially incentivised by the enormous resources of its centralized command, that the network even migrated to an even more centralized model which is proof of stake.

However, ETC Is Now Decentralized at Scale


The DAO hard fork was, in retrospect, a marvelous event for Ethereum Classic. By staying as the original chain, with no alterations, immutable, and respecting a “Code Is Law” philosophy it suddenly became an isolated, unfunded and unsupported project. This sudden desolation couldn’t have been better for today’s true decentralization in Ethereum Classic.

As time passed by, new backers and developers joined the ETC ecosystem; more exchanges and node operators started to support the chain; hashing power and mining started to grow significantly; and ETC has become the largest proof of work smart contracts blockchain in the world!

In philosophy and ecosystem topography, now ETC is very similar to Bitcoin: It has no charismatic founders, node operators and miners are spread all around the world; and there is no entity with large pockets directing the system.

Therefore ETC Does Not Have Kings, Presidents, CEO’s, or Administrators

This means that ETC is a completely decentralized blockchain, not only because, at scale, its design naturally tends to decentralization, as is the proof of work model of consensus, but also because there are no single actors who lead or manage the system.

Ethereum Classic doesn’t have any ICO or VC funding, big development team, or well funded foundation or corporation managing it.

All these parts in the ecosystem are growing organically and in a distributed manner globally not only because the world is realizing that ETC has these true principles, but because its decentralist principles are actually encoded in its system.

For these reasons, we could say, metaphorically, that ETC has no kings, presidents, CEO’s, or administrators.

Thank you for reading this article!

To learn more about ETC please go to: https://ethereumclassic.org

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