Parity Announces Last Gap Update for Second Time in a Month
Of late, Parity has started to get on the bad side of many in the Ethereum community. Before the Istanbul hard fork, it was revealed that there was a bug in the client update and a last-minute upgrade was released to prevent anything going wrong. Once again, a bug that could validate invalid transactions was noticed by the community on December 31st – just two days before the Muir Glacier hard fork was scheduled.
Smart Contract Wars
The bug, as explained by Sergio Demian Lerner, is fairly straightforward: it starts with sending a block with invalid transactions, but also a valid block header from a previously mined block to a parity node. The Parity node verifies the transactions but realized the root hash in the block header doesn’t match the block, thereby invalidating the block header forever.
Simply put, Parity nodes were verifying data with the underlying assumption that data is valid until proven invalid. The invalidation of a previously verified block header would be a direct attack on the immutability of the ledger.
Parity has been accused of purposely sabotaging their Ethereum client as part of a ‘war plan’ before the imminent launch of Polkadot. Although the clear conflict of interest at Parity, working on both Ethereum and Polkadot, is undeniable, there is no evidence of deliberate wrongdoing on their part.
Focus on Polkadot, Abandoning Ethereum
The company has taken a strategic decision to use their corporate resources to solely focus on Polkadot development, announcing that they will be launching a DAO to coordinate the maintenance of their Ethereum client. Many see this as their way of abandoning support for Ethereum without having to verbally admit it, but Parity denies this is the case, claiming that decentralized governance is a part of the process.
Whether there is evidence or not, connecting the dots isn’t all that difficult. Parity is one of the most important companies in Ethereum and in client software, but their negligence, purposeful or accidental, has led to a decline in the number of Ethereum nodes running their client.
All of this may be the stepping stone for more radical warfare as Polkadot looks to dethrone Ethereum as the reigning king of the public smart contract world.