The fundraiser proved to be a disaster. Over a month-long period, participants contributed about $150 million worth of cryptocurrency. But a hacker exploited a software flaw and stole about a third of the new DAO tokens. The fundraiser's organizers and other proponents of ethereum decided to replace the blockchain. The idea was to make the stolen tokens worthless and enable contributors to receive refunds. On July 20, 2016, the do-over took effect. The DAO project was abandoned. The old blockchain was supposed to die. Only it didn't.
A small part of the ethereum community continued to use the old blockchain. Somewhat like in the 1980s when the Coca-Cola Co reintroduced its original soda as "Coca-Cola Classic" after a change in its flavor flopped, the old blockchain became known as "ethereum classic," while the new blockchain took on the name ethereum.
Critics of keeping the old blockchain alive say it allows the hacker potentially to sell the stolen cryptocurrency. It remains unclear whether that has occurred.
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