Fork, You Fine? Ouch!
Have you ever been pricked by a porcupine? It must have hurt. You are not fine. That is what founders feel when there is a fork in their organization, specifically in the crypto world. They don’t feel fine with the forking. Thus the theme of the content. You fine with the fork? Fork you fine? Naaaaahhh!!!! It hurts, Dude.
Wikipedia defines a fork as “what happens when a blockchain diverges into two potential paths forward.” Do you remember when Christendom was divided into two? In the year 1054 AD there was a great “forking” in Christendom that created the two largest denomination — the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox faith.
The main reason for the forking, or as what secular historians call the Great Schism, was that the Catholics believe that the pope is infallible. On the other hand, the Orthodox believers reject the infallibility of the pope, viewing him as only a human being and thus subject to error.
Because of this irreconcilable difference, they had to go on their separate ways. This can happen in the crypto world. In fact it already happened. There was a fork in Ethereum, dividing it into two groups: Ethereum and Ethereum classic. It hurts. It’s like being sawn asunder. It’s like mom and dad got separated due to irreconcilable differences. And the 12 kids have to decide with whom to go.
For a detailed information on forking, the different types of forking, and some insight into why Ethereum gave birth to Ethereum classic and Ethereum, please click this article by Investopedia: https://www.investopedia.com/terms/h/hard-fork.asp
Forking is a matter of settling differences. This is challenge is a feature of the power dynamics in a large group. Since crypto is based on consensus, there is a possibility of a deadlock. While majority would always win, from time to time, there are instances when an issue being solved splits the group equally.
Another hard fork example was that of the breaking away of Bitcoin Cash form Bitcoin. The reason for the splitting was that there was a disagreement in how to increase the TPS (transaction per second) to accommodate for more demand. It seems that we have yet to see what the blockchain universe look like in the years to come.
It’s like mitosis, when a cell divides. If you still remember your biology class, each cell divides every few minutes or so. Then there are different types of cells. There are muscle cells, stomach cells, bone cells, eye cells. And these group of cells become part of a tissue. These tissues become organs with different functions. And in turn, the organs form part of a system. And lastly, different systems become the human body.
Time will come when there are different crypto and blockchain networks with their own unique characteristics and functions, forming an elaborate system that is called the blockchain universe. While forks do hurt, time will tell whether the splitting proves to be beneficial in the future. Perhaps some networks will die out because of being abandoned altogether due to not being useful anymore.
So are forks bad or good? Until we find out later in time, we understand that disagreements arise. Even if there are two persons left on earth, like literally two people, there will always be disagreement. And the manner through which they handle the differences can mean them splitting or staying together. Or there may be a compromise. But who will arbitrate between them?
While the disagreements among a large group is more complicated than those between two individuals, we can still find some way to handle this issue. We all know that blockchain is an evolving technology. We have crafted solutions to the previous years’ problems. Perhaps we can refine our power dynamics through a more creative design of decision-making. Only time will tell.
Therefore while we all are affected directly and indirectly by blockchain and crypto, stay tuned with us here at NEAR Protocol. You can educate yourself on different concepts, terminologies, and real-life implications.
This content is brought to you by NEAR Protocol, the future of blockchain and crypto
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