What is Ethereum Classic

Ethereum Classic (ETC) is a hard fork of Ethereum, created to preserve the original ETH code after the DAO hack that caused the loss of over 6.2 million ETH tokens and crippled the development of dApps.

History of Ethereum Classic

The core network of the Ethereum project was originally released through Frontier on July 30, 2015, by the Ethereum Foundation, a Swiss non-profit founded by Vitalik Buterin and the core Ethereum team. However, due to a third-party hacking project, on July 20, 2016, the Ethereum Foundation created a new version of Ethereum’s core network with an irregular state change that erased the theft from Ethereum’s blockchain history.

On July 20, 2016, as a result of the exploitation of a flaw in The DAO Project’s smart contract software and the subsequent theft of $50 million worth of ETH, the Ethereum network split into two separate blockchains – the one with the changed history was named Ethereum (ETH) and the one with the unchanged history was named Ethereum Classic.

After a series of 51% attacks on the Ethereum Classic network in 2020, the community considered changing the underlying Ethash mining algorithm to prevent the possibility of a PoW-based minority chain in the Ethash mining algorithm, where Ethereum dominates as far as hashing power is concerned.

After evaluating various options, such as Monero’s RandomX or the standardized SHA-3-256, it was eventually decided to double the epoch length of Ethash from 30,000 to 60,000 to reduce the size of the DAG and prevent Ethash miners from easily switching to Ethereum Classic. This modified Ethash is also referred to as the ETChash or the Thanos update.

Structure of Ethereum Classic

ETC is similar to Bitcoin forks such as Bitcoin Cash (BCH) in that its value will forever be tied to Ethereum regardless of each project’s ideological or technical differences. This isn’t the only Ethereum fork either – EtherZero, EthereumFog, Ether Gold, and EtherInc are also forks of the chain.

These concurrent blockchain versions resemble Microsoft’s supported versions of its Windows OS back to the original in special cases (such as satellites and equipment put into space during these eras).

In this context, using multiple versions is a great tool for developers and users, extending the Ethereum Foundation’s original promise of a blockchain-based future.

Ethereum Classic is a strong blockchain project. However, it is unlikely to ever rise from the shadows of its more popular big brother. Yet ETC will forever enjoy the support of those who support its philosophical position, and organizations able to successfully monetize this currency may find success.

The mechanism, called the Difficulty Bomb, was created to push the Ethereum chain from a consensus Proof-of-Work (PoW) mechanism to a Proof-of-Stake (PoS) in the future by exponentially increasing the mining difficulty.

The enhancement was added to the network at block 200,000 in the Ice Age update. Following the advent of the hard fork, Ethereum Classic upgraded its network in block 5,900,000 to permanently defuse the difficulty bomb – thus ensuring the longevity of its PoW consensus mechanism.