Matter Labs co-founder suggests establishment of an ‘Ethereum Supreme Court’ for on-chain disputes

6:10 am
September 4, 2023
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Alex Gluchowski, co-founder and CEO of Matter Labs, has proposed the creation of an Ethereum court system that functions similarly to real-world hierarchical court systems. The idea was shared by Gluchowski on Twitter, where he suggested the establishment of an “Ethereum Supreme Court” to serve as the final authority for resolving smart contract disputes. Gluchowski believes that such a system would protect protocols from external political interference and enhance the role of Ethereum as a powerful network state.

In Gluchowski’s proposed model, on-chain courts would handle disputes and emergency upgrades on a hierarchical basis. The Ethereum layer-1 soft fork would act as the “Court of Final Appeal,” serving as the ultimate destination for resolving disputes. Each protocol would have its own governance and upgrade mechanisms, as well as a designated contract that can trigger an appeal. During an emergency upgrade, there would be an appeal period where users could challenge the decision by submitting a pre-defined bail deposit. The Ethereum Supreme Court would be the final destination for challengers.

Gluchowski acknowledged that a strong social consensus would be required for the on-chain court system to be effective and emphasized that only “truly extraordinary” cases would be brought before it. Existing solutions to smart contract disputes were deemed ineffective by Gluchowski, as time-locked features and security councils have limitations and risks. Gluchowski and the zkSync team, responsible for developing an Ethereum layer 2 scaling solution, expressed their willingness to fund research into this proposal.

Summary

Co-founder and CEO of Matter Labs, Alex Gluchowski, has proposed the establishment of an Ethereum court system, referred to as the “Ethereum Supreme Court.” This on-chain court system would handle smart contract disputes and emergency upgrades in a hierarchical manner, with the Ethereum layer-1 soft fork acting as the final authority. Gluchowski believes this system would protect protocols from external interference and elevate Ethereum’s role as a powerful network state.

FAQ

What is the purpose of the proposed Ethereum Supreme Court?

The Ethereum Supreme Court would serve as the final authority for resolving smart contract disputes and emergency upgrades on the Ethereum network.

How would the Ethereum court system work?

Under the proposed system, disputes and emergency upgrades would be handled by a hierarchical set of on-chain courts. Each protocol would have its own governance and upgrade mechanisms, with a designated contract that can trigger an appeal. The Ethereum Supreme Court would be the ultimate destination for appeals.

What are the benefits of the Ethereum court system?

The court system aims to protect protocols from external political interference, enhance Ethereum’s position as a network state, and provide a deterrence mechanism against protocol manipulation.

What are the limitations of existing solutions to smart contract disputes?

Existing solutions, such as time-locked features and security councils, have limitations and risks. Time-locked features are not suitable for emergency situations, while security councils can still be susceptible to malicious takeovers.

Who is funding research into this proposal?

Alex Gluchowski and the team at zkSync, an Ethereum layer 2 scaling solution developed by Matter Labs, have expressed their willingness to fund research into the proposed Ethereum court system.


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