As if Ethereum users had any need of more uncertainty, this week the big story was the drama going on at MyEtherWallet, the best known and most-used Ethereum wallet.
Taylor, the de-facto public leader of MyEtherWallet, and Kosala, the original founder of MEW, must have had a big fallout recently, of which we don't know much.
Fact is, on Friday Taylor announced that she was taking basically the whole team, forking the project, and moving all of their future efforts to a new company called MyCrypto
This would have been all cool and all, but Taylor also took the liberty of moving all of the ~80k followers that MEW had on Twitter to its new account. And most worryingly, it also moved the verified badge.
Now I'm left following MyCrypto on Twitter, and not MyEtherWallet.
But most importantly, I'm not sure which one to use next time I need to move some funds..
The situation is quite tricky and it's hard to take sides, but it's clearly not been handled in the best way.This is the official statement from MEW / Kosala.
I think there are a few takeaways from this situation.1) Security for Ethereum users
MEW had been plagued with phishing scams for a while, so this news is not going to help and will open up the door to many more attacks on users that don't really keep track.
While all previous attacks all tried to pass off as MyEtherWallet itself, I wouldn't be surprised if someone forked off MyCrypto or MEW again, with a new name, claiming to be an original developer, keeping the UI and just saying that have a new name but that they are legit.
We had absolutely no visibility in the MEW team, and always trusted the "public" brand of the website and their activity on twitter.
So now that the team has substantially changed, can we still trust that MEW will be safe? The site probably facilitates $M of movements on its site hourly, so ethics must be strong to not change a few LOC to take a peek at some private keys.
On the other hand, can we trust MyCrypto? If they took away one of the most valuable assets of MEW without any notice and clearly not in accordance, then can we be sure they won't "take" anything else?
Not great for the community.2) Traditional corporate structures are absolutely medieval and it's embarrassing for humanity that we're still relying on them.
The situation between Taylor and Kosala is clearly pretty bad, and there have been multiple legal proceedings going on.
There is a lawsuit filed by Kosala
in which we learn from a few emails sent by his law firm, that Kosala offered to buy out Taylor for $1M.
And on Reddit, /u/shanecorry uncovered some more info:
MyEtherWallet LLC was dissolved (or requested dissolution?) on the 29th of December 2017 (signed off by Taylor)
A 2nd dissolution document
states the dissolution is being requested by members (shareholders?) who own more than 50% of the company combined but that not all members (of which there is 3, see below) are in agreement to dissolve the company.
Aside from whoever is right and will win, which is not of particular interest to the writer, what is fascinating about reading the lawsuits and other documents is the realization of the state of our governance infrastructure. Which is basically NIL.
Kosala had to request a date and time to go somewhere to review books and other documents of the company. How medieval is this?
I am indirectly a shareholder in more than 100 companies all over the world, so I might be feeling the pain more than others, but the opacity and lack of recourse is really stunning.
Oftentimes small shareholders in companies don't really have a say, and whatever documents everyone signed are completely disregarded by the company which ends up doing whatever it wants knowing that no-one has the time money and energy for a legal battle.
This is what really made me the most excited about crypto-land. I got in love with Bitcoin early on, but when I discovered the possibilities for decentralized governance, I fell even more in love with Ethereum.
My guess is that in 20 years, we will not have to deal with this paper crap anymore. Won't been soon enough.3) Front-end forks vs chain forks
We've obviously seen a lot of chains being forked, but this is one of the first examples of the front-end, final customer UI being forked.
I'm not even sure we can classify MEW as a proper dapp, but I imagine this happening more and more.
It's a fascinating albeit scary thing to think about for investors as it makes it even harder to answer the question: where does the value reside?