It has been a month since the attack on the DAO. The attacker might be able to retrieve his/her stolen ETH in fiat currency tomorrow. Will (s)he be able to do so?
Why is July 15 an important date for a hard fork? July 15 is NOT a hard deadline for a hard fork. However, July 15 is nevertheless an important date, because until then no Ether will have left any DAO. The creation period of the DAO started on May 1st. The creation period of the DAO took 27 days. Immediately after the creation period the first split proposal was made. This was executed after 7 days. Following this, a new DAO was created with another 27 day creation period. Finally another 14 days is required in the new split to make a proposal to send money out of the split. In total this is 75 days after theDAO started. So July 15 is the first possible date that ETH that was sent into the original DAO can be sent to regular accounts and mixed with ETH that is not involved with theDAO. Please note that the split that we are talking about is a regular split. The owner should be allowed to withdraw, however, to make the hard fork code as simple as possible it would be better to not have to deal with those exceptions.
The second important date is July 27. That is the first date where ETH could leave the darkDAO (hack on June 16 + 27 days creation period + 14 days proposal period).
- 15th July is the date that the early (non-malicious) splits can start withdrawing their ETH, making the accounting for the hard fork slightly more difficult.
- 27th July is the date when the attacker is first able to withdraw the ETH from The DAO. To convert the hot ETH into fiat currency, the attacker would have to take some precautions to hide the history of the hot ETH if selling on an exchange, or sell the ETH privately at a discount.
They will not be able to withdraw the hot ETH to their own account if the hard fork occurs. In this case, the modified Ethereum node software will transfer the attackers hot ETH into an account or contract out of reach from the attacker, for distribution back to the rightful owners.
If the hard fork is not accepted by consensus, the attacker will have some control of the hot ETH, but there is a friendly attacker that will try to attack the attacker's hot ETH using a similar attack to that originally used by the attacker. See link above for more details.