Uproar as Waltonchain releases its Go-Ethereum clone without proper attribution

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Ibis
Jun 1, 2019

Allegations of plagiarism and non-attribution flood the crypto subreddits after Waltochain released the open source code of its recently-launched Waltonchain mainnet.


The drama started shortly after a community member shared a message from the WTC team announcing the code’s release, complete with a link to Waltonchain’s github repo and information about the PoW Reward Program:

It didn’t take long before someone mentioned that the released code is pretty much just a copy of Go-Ethereum, with all references to Go-Eth code’s original authors removed:

Go Ethereum is one of the three original implementations (along with C++ and Python) of the Ethereum protocol written in Go, which is fully open source.


A few reddit users claimed they’ve compared the two documents in full, with a 92% match between Waltonchain’s and Go-Ethereum’s code:

And while the stark similarities led to quick accusations of plagiarism, malintent and uncreativity, some were quick to point out that Waltonchain’s mainnet was in fact meant to be a Go-Ethereum fork, repurposed for the project’s own needs:

From there, two separate yet stubbornly interwoven debates emerged.


On the one hand, some conceded there’s nothing inherently wrong with massive chunks of WTC’s code essentially being CTRL-V’d from Go-Eth, but took offense to the obfuscation of the code’s original creators and the general GNU General Public License details from the end document.

Soon after the uproar, the WTC team rectified the code and added proper attribution:

The other part of the debate, then, focused on whether there were actually any significant, qualitative additions to WTC’s code other than the copy-pasted lines, that would in fact warrant another Go-Eth fork. As part of the announcement about proper licenses being added to the code, there was a list of supposed improvements achieved via the new Waltonchain mainnet:

This translated into a more material discussion on the viability, legitimacy and general effectiveness of the above list of improvements, which you can read about in the original thread.


Safe to say that not everyone was convinced though, with some in the WTC community wondering if much of the original code was still being kept private, with varying degrees of confidence to that claim:

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Ibis
Jun 1, 2019

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