The Robin Hood Team: The DAO’s Assets May Return Without a Hardfork

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22.06.2016

A joint team of Ethereum Project, Slock.it and some anonymous developers which calls itself the Robin Hood team intends to bring back the ethers stolen from the DAO without hard-forking Ethereum.

The news revealed in a comment to the Alex Van de Sande’s report about the counterattack of a semi-anonymous group of blockchain experts engaged in returning the DAO’s assets, when Ethereum developer Fabian Vogelsteller told:

“We know the curator of the Attacker DAO with 3.5M ether, now 7.2 ether are safe in a DAO where we also know the curator. With a temporary Soft Fork all this ethers can be send to a refund contract and the nightmare is over!”

The news launched a discussion, however, the details are still scarce. The only thing known for sure is that withdrawing assets from the Attacker’s DAO, should it succeed, would take at least 73 days due to the preparation period requirements in the DAO’s contract.

“This is being heavily debated, so keep in mind this is my opinion only. Roughly speaking, yes. A soft fork with a clever one way whitelisting mechanism + a draconian accounting system (which the Robin group has already mostly done) could recover nearly or up to 100% of the DAO funds (over many, many months of course). That said, a hard fork still stays (IMHO) the simplest, fastest , safest way forward, in the sense that both the soft and hard fork share many of the same attributes (they both require a code upgrade, and the ‘hard fork’ only affects the relevant transactions). So one wonders the utility of going through all the trouble and risk when the application is nearly identical and it could be all over in the course of a couple of weeks,” commented Stephan Tual of Slock.it team.

He also noted that this course of events is currently subject to further discussion, and he personally hasn’t come to any decision in its regard.

The possible solution uses the option of buying tokens of the the Attacker’s DAO (aka the Dark DAO) without any involvement of the Attacker after some preparations, and further draining the Dark DAO’s assets to the benefit of the DAO using the same recursive call. However, in this case, it is ExtraBalance that is going to become the end address. Withdrawing assets therefrom would require affirmative voting from a majority of The DAO’s token holders. Further details are availble in Lefteris Karapetsas’s article in Slock.it’s blog, as well as in the Reddit discussion.

The situation when the Attacker used someone else’s proposal for a child DAO may also mean that he or she didn’t plan to grab the DAO’s funds, as it would have been very hard to cover their tracks. Their possible intent might have been to sow panic across ETH and DAO markets, especially considering the price for a single ether on the June 17th morning. Should this assumption is correct, successful return of investment funds without a hard-fork looks more likely. The Attacker’s motives remain unknown, however, one may only hope that they are not a competitor of The DAO or Ethereum whose intent had been to force a hard-fork and undermine trust for the system.

As ForkLog reported earlier, this night the group performed a counterattack (aka white hat attack) on The DAO, which resulted in storing of around 69.3% of ethers at a child DAO with limited number of participants and at the DAO’s extra balance in order to reduce the vulnerability before possible future attacks. The counterattack was being prepared in advance, however, a new attack on the DAO forced the team to bring it into action. In the course of that new attack, an unknown party started withdrawing the remaining assets from the mother DAO doing exactly what had been done on Friday. The counterattack allowed the team to withdraw around 7.97 million ethers (around $110 million) to the benefit of a protected child DAO or on an ExtraBalance account.

Even though the situation becomes increasingly complicated, ForkLog still monitors the development of affairs.

A very quick update: It seems the Attacker started to actually attack the WhiteHat DAO. Here’s what Lefteris Karapetsas comments on this:

“Yes the attacker is on the move again right now. He donated some ether into the DAO and joined both whitehat splits. We drained the ETH he donated as fast as we could but he got what he wanted.

An attacker in now part of split 78 and he can now do the split attack again in that white hat DAOs. This is why we need a soft fork. I will publish a blog post very soon with the steps forward from now on.

But DO NOT panic. That means that any other move the attacker would try to do would come after 24 days. And that gives us more than enough time to have the soft fork implemented.”

Eugene Muratov

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