Parity Dev Admits Neglecting Ethereum in Favor of Polkadot

Will Heasman

Parity Technologies, one of the largest Ethereum clients, has come under friendly fire as the community accuses the firm of neglecting ETH in favor of upcoming blockchain, Polkadot.

The contention between the community and Parity is reaching a fever pitch. Conjecture of indifference turned into reality when a Parity developer admitted to prioritizing Polkadot, calling it the firm's "flagship project."

We can't fix this issue just by putting more internal resources on parity-ethereum because there's little/no incentive to do so, other than maintaining goodwill, honestly. It is not Parity's flagship project, that's Polkadot, and unfortunately there are no resources for us to make drastic changes.

No Failsafe

The main issue with losing Parity support lies within Ethereum's integral infrastructure. Without Parity providing a reliable and secure failsafe client, the ETH network is left with only one other client - Geth. While that's essentially enough to ensure the smooth running of ethereum, the protocol has always benefited from having a back-up in case of software failure. If one client goes down, the other will kick into effect.

This failsafe was executed back in 2016 when Ethereum's blockchain came under fire from denial-of-service (DoS) attacks. Known as the Shanghai attacks, spam transactions ravaged ETH nodes running on Geth, slowing them to a snail's pace. Luckily nodes were booted via Parity, and the situation was contained.

Beyond a focus on the budding Polkadot project, Parity cited a lack of community support suggesting, "the less people who work on it, the less people are willing to use it (and vice versa)," alluding to a further lack of incentive.

Show Us the Money

The community hasn't taken to the news of lessened support too well. Further, it appears they have another reason to be frustrated. Back in January, the Ethereum foundation provided Parity with a $5 million grant. The firms head of affairs, Peter Mauric, even noted that the grant was for implementations of Ewasm and sharding within the ETH2 upgrade, and not for any work on Parity's current Ethereum client:

In response to community outrage, Mauric pointed out that the funds came in sporadically, based on milestone achievements; adding that, previously, Ethereum clients have been community sustained, not funded by Ethereum Foundation grants:

“Public blockchain clients have up to this point depended primarily on free work. In the long run, we hope to help these communities find a sustainable model for supporting developers and researchers on an ongoing basis.”

Indeed, it seems community funding may be an option. ConsenSys Alumni - Ameen Soleimani suggested that this could be initiated via Rust, and a possible fork:

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