Did It Really Take Just 13 People To Hard Fork Polygon? - Decrypt

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Ethereum sidechain Polygon successfully completed a web hard fork Tuesday, efficaciously creating a caller Polygon blockchain that developers anticipation volition supply faster transactions and little predominant state interest spikes. 

While the bundle upgrade was hailed by advocates arsenic a method measurement forward, the mode successful which the fork was pushed done the Polygon assemblage and ratified near others questioning the network’s organizational operation and committedness to decentralization.

In December, Polygon’s Governance Team—the network’s halfway leadership—set distant an archetypal connection to instrumentality a hard fork. Hard forks are events wherever a supermajority of a blockchain’s validators (typically, and successful the lawsuit of Polygon, 67%) hold to upgrade to caller software, fundamentally creating a caller blockchain successful the process. 

Typically, hard forks are utilized to marque large adjustments to 1 oregon aggregate mechanisms undergirding a network. In this case, Polygon’s enactment advocated utilizing a hard fork to trim the sprint magnitude of on-chain transactions—a determination that would some little transaction times and trim the frequence of concatenation reorganizations, oregon “reorgs”—messy and occasionally risky events wherever aggregate validators disagree astir the network’s transaction history. 

Polygon’s enactment besides projected utilizing the accidental of a fork to treble the blockchain’s “BaseFeeChangeDenominator,” an accommodation intended to trim volatile spikes successful state fees that person previously plagued the network.

The connection by Polygon’s Governance Team provoked a heated debate among the network’s community, with immoderate pressing for further details astir the necessity of suggested changes, and others chiding Polygon’s enactment for not prioritizing other, much needed adjustments—ones that wouldn’t necessitate a determination arsenic terrible arsenic a hard fork. 

Polygon’s apical brass past enactment the substance to a vote. But not everyone had a say. Only the network’s 100 validators—participants who tally Polygon’s nodes—were invited to enactment successful a poll, determining whether the web should acquisition a hard fork precisely arsenic proposed, oregon not.

In all, conscionable 15 validators formed their votes. 13 of them signed connected to Polygon’s plan, called 87 percent successful favor. A root acquainted with the substance told Decrypt that a fig of Polygon validators haven’t adjacent registered with the forum wherever Polygon tallies specified polls, and whitethorn not person been alert specified a ballot was taking place. 

So, it would seem, 13 votes determined the destiny and aboriginal of Polygon. A fewer weeks later, Polygon announced its volition to spell done with the hard fork, precisely arsenic it was initially proposed. 

Following the announcement, immoderate criticized Polygon’s governing process arsenic undemocratic and overly centralized. 

The full Polygon web was hard forked.

The fork was voted connected by lone 15 people.

Centralized asf.

— KEMOSABE (@KEMOS4BE) January 14, 2023

Curiously though—and possibly much concerning—Polygon ne'er stated outright that its enactment would abide by the results of the poll, oregon that the poll’s results straight led to the hard fork proposal’s adoption. Polygon’s enactment appeared to construe the December hard fork canvass arsenic an aboriginal feedback mechanics alternatively than an authoritative vote. Because 67% of validators request to upgrade their bundle for the hard fork to beryllium completed, doing truthful could efficaciously beryllium considered a ballot successful support.

Polygon told Decrypt precocious Tuesday that 99 of 100 validators updated their clients, putting the hard fork into effect. But by that point, resisting Polygon’s propulsion for a fork would person apt created a acold messier and much volatile script for each involved, successful which aggregate versions of the web would person co-existed simultaneously.

Polygon’s enactment has successful the past emphasized its committedness to decentralization; the network’s Governance Team was purportedly created to “gradually summation the decentralization of Polygon’s products.” 

The radical also, however, has likened itself to a cadre of “benevolent dictators.”

Decrypt's Max Koopsen provided further reporting for this story.

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