As reported, Darkcoin rolled out its Master Node upgrade for its Darksend transaction technology. However, things have not gone to plan for the privacy centric altcoin, with transaction errors causing a series of unintended hard forks of its block chain. Darkcoin developers rapidly swung into action to fix the problem, but the market price of Darkcoin has yet to recover on crypto exchanges.
It was announced on Sunday, that the planned hard fork for Darkcoin was going into effect and Master Nodes would be activated.
Initially, it was thought that only a minor problem had occurred because of the upgrade, as described by Darkcoin’s Evan Duffiled:
Today the masternode payments fork went into effect. The fork went off without issue and the network looks very healthy, but it appears there is some issue with pools voting for the wrong master nodes. This is causing payments to not go through as they should.
The fix is rather simple and can be done without a hard fork. After the pools update to the fixed version, the payments will begin to go through.
We’re currently working on a resolution and will provide the new version soon (probably by tomorrow, hopefully in a few hours).
In a later post on the same thread, Duffield informed the community that a much more serious problem had arisen:
Some bad masternodes set off a chain reaction which forked the network into many smaller forks. To ensure you’re on the correct fork please
update your daemon and run with the command "-reindex". It may take a
bit to reindex, but you’ll be on the correct fork.
He later announced in a separate thread that Darkcoin was being hard forked again in order to draw a line under the spontaneous forks:
Since launching masternode payments the network has kept randomly
forking. We’re not exactly sure what is the cause, but to stop this
and restore stability we are going to fork to remove masternode
payments. This fork will go into effect Tuesday at 19:00 GMT. Sorry for the
short notice, but this is an emergency fork.
This large number of forks in the Darkcoin blockchain caused various crypto exchanges to be on different (and thus incorrect) forks of the block chain, and so the developers reported that they reached out to have trading suspended. For example, Darkcoin trading was suspended on Cryptsy for several hours until the final (intentional) hard fork was implemented.
In (yet another) forum thread Duffield reported on the state of the network, confirming that no founds had been lost due to exchanges as a consequence of exchanges being on the wrong block chain fork.
Duffield also pledged that that Darkcoin would no longer have any (planned or unplanned) hard forks:
Beyond this point we will not need to hard fork the network to implement the rest of DarkSend features. This is an example of why hard forks are dangerous and we want to avoid them in the future.
It was also announced that a master node payout level had been increased to 20%.
We’ve wanted to increase masternode payments to 20% for a few weeks now, but have not been able to since the code was already going through the testing and launch stages. This will give us an opportunity to add greater incentive to secure the network and run masternodes.
At the time of writing (5/28/2014 4:09:37 PM), Darkcoin is trading on Cryptsy for less than 16 mBTC, which is around the same level as a week ago, and down from the recent peak of 26 mBTC.
Disclosure. The author currently holds 66.5 DRK