A new feature enabling new smart contract creation options, named Create2, has raised concerns over a new potential security risk. The new feature would allow for the interaction with smart contracts that have not yet been deployed through the pre-computation of the to-be-deployed contract address. This is an entirely new paradigm, as before this feature smart contract addresses were random, and could not be predicted before a contract was deployed. The attack entails switching a previously benign (trusted) smart contract with a malicious one through ‘self destructing’ the old contract and deploying the new contract at the now vacant address. If true, this would make interactions between smart contracts significantly less trusted, especially when one party does not own all of the contracts involved in a transaction.
Overstock CEO Patrick Byrne talks about a blockchain based infrastructure to make government operations and services “superefficient, inexpensive, and incapable of being bribed”. With global concerns of corruption and mismanaged funds rising, blockchain could definitely help construct more transparent government systems. While the famed retailer turned crypto may be overzealous with claims of “a central bank on the laptop”, pushes for overhauling outdated government systems are a sign of progress towards more efficient and more accountable government.
The Enterprise Ethereum Alliance wants to accelerate enterprise adoption of blockchain technology by developing standards for interoperability. The EEA has over 385 members in over 45 countries who have joined to develop open blockchain specifications that drive interoperability for businesses and consumers worldwide. As an industry standards organization, the EEA invites all members to participate with an equal voice and vote in contributing to the development of specifications. To ensure interoperability, vendors with enterprise blockchain solutions will be required to pass an EEA Certification test (targeted for Q1 2020) confirming offerings comply with the EEA specification.
SEC Commissioner Hester Peirce, better known as “Crypto-Mom”, has confirmed that the SEC is currently working on guidance documents on the application of federal securities laws to ICOs. This will be a welcome change for many, as the SEC has been harshly criticized for its decision to regulate through enforcement actions in lieu of providing firms with clear guidance to abide by. Surprisingly, she also stated that the delay in releasing this guidance may have actually helped blockchain technology develop on its own. She stated that “ambiguity is not all bad” and that delaying the guidance might have given blockchain technology “more freedom to come into its own.” This is false. The SEC has been purposefully vague in defining when utility tokens are considered securities and therefore subject to federal securities laws while its Chairman, Jay Clayton, has touted that all the ICOs he’s seen are securities offerings. This regulatory uncertainty has caused many blockchain companies to flee to other countries who have provided more clear guidance. The SEC should have provided guidance on how to structure ICOs to comply with federal securities laws long ago instead of hiding the ball and then going after blockchain entrepreneurs for violating the law. Regulatory uncertainty is never good.
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