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Emergency Shutdown Module
Solidity Makefile
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Emergency Shutdown Module


The ESM is a contract with the ability to call end.cage(), i.e. trigger an Emergency Shutdown (aka Global Settlement).

MKR holders join their funds, which are then immediately burnt. When the ESM's internal sum balance is equal to or greater than the min threshold, the ESM can be fired.

It is meant to be used by an MKR minority to thwart two types of attack:

  • malicious governance
  • critical bug

In the former case, the pledgers will have no expectation of recovering the funds (as that would require a malicious majority to pass the required vote), and their only option is to set up an alternative fork in which the majority's funds are slashed.

In the latter case, governance can choose to refund the ESM pledgers by minting new tokens.

If governance wants to disarm the ESM, it can only do so by removing its authorization to call end.cage().


  • fire can be called by anyone
  • fire can be called only once
  • fire requires sum to be >= min
  • join can only be called before fire
  • gems are burnt immediately upon joining
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