Juno community revokes ownership of 2.5 million tokens from owner
The Juno community has voted to strip a customer of ownership of approximately 2.5 million tokens they allegedly obtained unlawfully. The customer got hold of the tokens through an airdrop that he is said to have manipulated and now wants to sue the node validators if the tokens are not returned – this could set a precedent with implications for the entire industry.
Last month, a blockchain project underwent a thorny development. While it didn’t get much media attention, its impact on the blockchain industry could be huge. The project is Juno, and it’s about a dispute between the project’s founder and the rest of the community, a dispute that could end up in court and set a momentous precedent.
It all started when Juno announced an airdrop. The project is based on Cosmos, a blockchain ecosystem where each chain is designed to freely interact with each other, meaning one can send tokens from Juno to another Cosmos-based chain.
Coming back to the airdrop, Juno announced that it will issue JUNO tokens at a 1:1 ratio to holders of ATOM tokens – Cosmos’ native token. However, there should be a limit of 50,000 tokens per wallet, even if a wallet contained millions of ATOM tokens. What the generous Juno geniuses didn’t consider was that a single investor could very well hold millions of ATOM tokens, but in multiple wallets of 50,000 tokens each.
And that’s exactly what happened. A major ATOM investor had 50 wallets with 50,000 JUNO tokens each. At first, no one noticed because crypto wallets are pseudonymous and there is no way of knowing who is behind each wallet. When the investor wanted to merge his new, fallen token blessing into a single wallet – 2.5 million in number – the matter became public.
Immutable Blockchain? Juno community says no
In March, the Juno community voted on a proposal to confiscate the bulk investor account in question for allegedly tampering with the system. Of course you were for it. It is the first time that an on-chain governance system should be used to change a customer’s account balance.
As expected, the community voted in favor of the proposal to confiscate all tokens except the 50,000 that they believed the customer was entitled to.
The investor involved, who remained anonymous at the time, has now been identified as Takumi Asano, a Japanese investor who runs a company called CCN. He claims that what the community has done violates the fundamental principle of blockchain thought: the irreversibility of transactions.
Asano does not simply accept the step. He told CoinDesk that he will take the node validators to court if they don’t return the tokens to him. He claims that the ATOM he had belonged to the investors who placed their money with him and they deserved to get their JUNO tokens back. The Japanese explained :
“If this ban is based on the assumption that the asset will be returned to our customers, we have no intention of taking legal action. However, if it is based on a [b]urn or permanent ban premise, we will consider taking legal action against any validator.”
Is what the Juno community has done wrong? Asano understandably says it’s wrong, stating:
“If the governor of a public chain rewrites a block’s data, will that chain still have anyone backing it? Will there still be hardcore blockchainers in the community? We’ll have to wait and see how this question plays out.”
Jack Zampolin, member of the Juno founding team, is also surprisingly on Asano’s side. He had appealed to the node validators not to agree to the proposal to reverse the transactions. Zampolin is a strong proponent of immutability, believing the move jeopardizes it and could set a precedent for how blockchain projects might run in the future. Trust in the blockchain would be seriously damaged. Zampolin says:
“There is this strong libertarian freedom perspective on blockchains. This … governance should not be directed against individual accounts or actors within these systems,” adding:
“But…what we’re seeing on Juno is the community is overwhelmingly saying, ‘We think the value of not having large accounts that was codified in the airdrop is a core value of this community, and we’re ready to take governance measures to protect that”.
The community doesn’t see it that way. She made this clear by maintaining her position that Asano exploited the system and received more than he should have received. Part of the application read: “The fact is that the Juno Genesis airdrop was tampered with by a single person. Whether intentionally or unintentionally, that is not relevant in this matter.