Polygon ’s Blockchain Hard-Forked Without Warning To Closed-Source Genesis. Why?

What’s going on at Polygon? It seems like there is a disruption in the force. Are they doing everything right with the Ethereum Layer 2 Project? Do they do everything right or is something more sinister? If they are able to hard-fork like this, is it possible for them to be decentralized? Did they actually follow all the correct procedures, and critics were just not informed? We don’t have the answers to all those questions. It is unlikely. But, we are able to present all information and allow you to draw your own conclusions.


Let’s start with DeFi Builder Nathan Worsley’s accusation. Is he asking for information or is Worsley merely making an accusation? Worsley recently tweeted, “Are we all supposed to just shut up and forget about the fact that over a week ago Polygon hard-forked their blockchain in the middle of the night with no warning to a completely closed-source genesis and still haven’t verified the code or explained what is going on?” 

Polygon: Ethereum’s Friend Is Looking To Make Big Strides| Polygon: Ethereum’s Friend Is Looking To Make Big Strides

The “middle of the night” part is arguable since everyone is in different timezones and the Polygon blockchain is everywhere. However, he cleared up why the issue is important, “Until the code is verified there are no security guarantees about the billions of dollars in assets the chain currently secures.” And tweeted proof of everything else, “Here’s the commit that was hard-forked into production.”


To add credibility to his claim, DeFiance Capital’s Zhu Su joined the chorus asking for answers. “Was this to patch a critical bug? Why and how did this happen?”


Polygon responds and shows receipts

The criticism got a response from Polygon’s co-founder Mihailo Bjelic. “We’re making an effort to improve security practices across all Polygon projects,” Bjelic tweeted. “As a part of this effort, we are working with multiple security researcher groups, whitehat hackers etc. One of our partners found a flaw in one the contracts that had been recently validated. The fix was immediately implemented and the upgrade coordinated with validators/full-node operators. The network was stable. The network is stable.”


That sounds plausible. Bjelic also promised, “A detailed blog post coming, we are finalizing additional security analyses.” A question lingers in the air, though. And crypto enthusiast J. Vicente Correa asks it in the most direct way possible, “U can fork the chain by yourself and take all my funds as u wish?”


And Polygon’s Mihailo Bjelic answers in the most political way possible. “Absolutely not. We have no control over these groups. The network is managed by full node operators and validators. We just did our best to communicate and explain the importance of this upgrade, but ultimately it was up to them to decide whether they will do it or not.”


That’s enough. However…

MATICUSD price chart - TradingView

Price chart for MATIC on Poloniex. Source : MATIC/USD tradingview.com| Source: MATIC/USD on TradingView.com

The Node Operator has some criticism of his own

Mikko Ohtamaa, a Polygon node operating operator, blasted how the company dealt with the whole situation and even showed receipts. “Next time it happens can you at least announce a critical update to all Polygon node operators. This is a very unprofessional move that will confuse the community. It was not mentioned or pinned down in any major channels or publications.”


He got a response from Polygon’s other co-creator, Sandeep Nailwal. “This was a security update, and hence pre-public-announcement could’ve escalated things.”


Okay, this makes sense. However, Ohtamaa had more complaints. “Some bug fixes” for a critical patch is not good. If there is a critical fix you co-ordinate with validators.” Plus, he reinforced Nathan Worsley’s original complaint. “It’s really obvious it is a critical security bug if you do unannounced no notice hard fork in the middle of a weekend.”


According to Ohtamaa, “there are multiple open source projects out there” that have done similar operations in a more effective manner. A person asked what Polygon could do better. He answered with a seriesThese are just a few simple steps. 

  1. Prepare the patch in private.
  2. A critical security patch was announced just days earlier. Every node operator must be ready.
  3. Distribute the patch when you are ready.
  4. Don’t downplay the importance of the patch or write stupid release notes.

Similar Reading: How Polygon Secured a $400M Deal to Get Ahead in the Ethereum ZK Rollup Race| How Polygon Sealed A $400M Deal To Get Ahead In The Ethereum ZK Rollup Race

Is there something wrong at Polygon? We will have to wait for the “detailed blog post” Bjelic promised to know for sure.

Mae Mu featured image on Unsplash Charts by TradingView

Get more Crypto News at CFX Magazine