This week, an e-mail from James Hancock, Hard Fork Coordinator at the Ethereum Foundation was leaked on Twitter and haters had a heyday. Criticism comes from the idea that decentralized networks shouldn’t operate like a corporation that has established roles. Hancock said that he had never had an e-mail leaked before and he doesn’t know how to feel about it.
EtH iS DeCENtRALIZEDD… pic.twitter.com/MyO8zmHwzV
— Psychedelic El ₿arto (@PsychedelicBart) December 23, 2019
“Never had an email ive sent leaked before. Not sure how I feel about this. – People mad I when they don’t know because no one reached out. – People mad when I reach out to let people know. Dang. I admit I could have worded it better. I went for brevity.” – Hancock
The timing of this leak occurred shortly after some Ethereum community members were upset about a non-urgent hard fork taking place on the “universal holiday” that is January 1st.
I am trying hard not to be negative about Ethereum lately…
But who the fuck decided to do a hard fork on a day that is an almost universal holiday?
Picking cool days is great when you are a core dev, but now someone from my team has to work on a day that they were free. https://t.co/xZmCPj5Y5r
— Jorge Izquierdo 🦅 (@izqui9) December 23, 2019
People who keep up with Ethereum’s governance wouldn’t be surprised that there is a coordinator for hard fork. There is even an organization called “Ethereum Cat Herders,” who aim to “bring the minimum amount of order that chaos needs to move Ethereum forward” by working with the Ethereum foundation, and ether nodes / miners to push updates out smoothly.”
That being said, Ethereum governance is not very democratic, like many other coins. There is a huge amount of participation in the Ethereum ecosystem required to have a voice in the process. General holders of ether are not able to vote for who takes these positions in the Ethereum Foundation and while people know about Hancock and the foundation, there is nowhere other than that e-mail officially stating that he is the “Hard Fork Coordinator.”
If governance was operated completely by ether holders and miners, then there would be a risk of forming a plutocracy, or government controlled by the wealthy. Ethereum core devs seem to prefer a system where heavy participants talk to each other and decide things, leaving improvements in capable hands and allowing holders to not worry about anything.