Understanding The Crypto Fork, Types, Mechanism And Its Impact.

Updated: Oct 3


A graphic image of forks representing crypto fork and bitcoins served on a plate

For economists, reading chapters on economics and learning from past recessions is the most common way to acquire investment expertise. But when you ask them about learning cryptocurrencies, nearly ninety per cent of them will step back not because it is a tough nut to crack but because of its no output source. However, there are still some things that can keep you from going bankrupt when you invest and earn through cryptocurrencies. You might be thinking about what it is. The standard yet rare factor to discuss is a crypto fork. The topic is so underrated that half of the internet has no appropriate definition of forking. Hence I am disclosing everything you must know about forking, its impact on finances, and other crucial things. We will continue the article in a way that we begin by picking words from blockchain technology and then move on to forking. You probably are thinking about why is it necessary, or some of us know better about the payment system. You will realise it sooner. Slicing the encrypted information and processing it is the best way to learn things, so let us do the same and start.


Blockchain technology is nothing but a decentralised financial system, or you can call decentralised exchange protocols that assure your data transmission transparency. Simply put, it's a digital structure that holds multiple copies of your entire transaction history without breaching your privacy since there is no central management by banks or anyone else. It happens through a consensus system reached in the network of distributed entities. If you are confused with a consensus system, let me tell you that it is just a fault-tolerant mechanism to achieve necessary agreement, trust and security while holding the data. Now let me make it more simple for you to understand. Consider that there are numerous blocks of data in a blockchain. Each of them gets stored in a node, a heavier computer responsible for verifying transactions. All the nodes are connected which like Ethereum has 30,000 nodes interconnected. Now you might be thinking that what are the functions of nodes? When a miner like you wants to add a data block to a new transaction, it validates the transaction or may reject it based on its validity. This information is shared with all the nodes instantly, keeping them updated. Remember one thing here they have a consensus protocol or algorithm to run these transactions. It is a puzzle that secures your transactions from hackers and therefore, nodes only verifies or validate transactions using this protocol.


Now, friend, it is time to move forward and learn about the article theme which is the crypto fork. Forks may have different definitions, but traditionally it is a security threat. Sometimes it refers to a temporary state of split when two or more blocks are created at the same time approximately; at other times, it is a change of consensus protocol rules to make a competiting version of Blockchain emerge. Surprisingly, these definitions are unclear, but the economic disruption through the crypto fork is real. They jeopardise data protection through cross-chain analysis and add new inefficiencies to undermine trust.


As of May 2020, there were 40 crypto assets emerged from Blockchain, with five emerging from Ethereum. You must know the DAO hack in this regard to be more precise about the term. In 2016, a large number of Ethereum decided to change the consensus rules in response to the DAO hack. Interestingly some of them stuck with the older version, and some wanted to perform an irregular change to undo the hack. As a result, it leads to a split of Ethereum into two- Ethereum and Ethereum Classic. However, it leads to an increase in the market cap 30 times higher than the original.

A graphic of Blockchain Forks Classification
Blockchain Forks Classification


There was a long-standing disagreement within the Bitcoin community on 1 August 2017, leading to Bitcoin Cash forking. Block size was the main difference. The Bitcoin community maintained a 1 MB block limit and preferred second-layer scaling solutions, while Bitcoin Cash followers opted for on-chain scaling and implemented an 8 MB block limit. It caused 2.5% of the Bitcoin market cap.


Hence forking I,e, the splitting can cause two uncertain events. Now, since they are affecting finances, it is crucial to understand them very carefully.


What Is Crypto Fork?


If you have come this far, you might have an idea of a crypto fork. But, hey, we are not here to just get an idea. Instead, we will learn the whole process. Consider there are two CRN that is consensus-relevant nodes, who are validating and relaying the transactions. By assembling candidate blocks, blocks that are competing so that they become part of blockchains, they are extending blockchains. One of them will be accepted only if it is per consensus rules.


Consider four blocks b1, b2, b3, and b4, which are in series. Now a decentralised nature of blockchain creation can lead to disagreements, and when b4 is divided into two parts that are b5 and bx, the formation of 2 incompatible versions of the blockchain occurs. This formation of 2 or more incompatible versions of cryptocurrency is called a fork. In simple words, a crypto fork is a diversion from mainstream technology. Champion you are because, in lesser time, you know about forking. But your learning is complete without the reasons.


A graphic of reasons behind blockchain's forks
Reasons behind blockchain's forks


Why Does A Crypto Fork Occur?


The existence of a delay, the differing opinions on consensus rules, and the negative gamma affect blockchain security implementation while forking. Generally, the reason behind them is that two independent miners solve the consensus protocol puzzle at the same time. It can also arise from selfish mining where miners solve and withhold new blocks.


What Is A Hard Fork In Crypto?


Hard Fork is simply irreversible. For a deeper understanding, consider that when there are disagreements, there is the formation of incompatible versions, where the newer versions are widely accepted. These versions are accepted among people because of the updated software, but when they want to switch or see the old version, they simply can't. It is a permanent divergence from the technology or chain where one can not move to the older one. It happens because the consensus protocol does not match anymore.


A graphic of how Blockchain Hard Fork works
Blockchain Hard Fork

These are dangerous because if the chain split or crypto fork occurs between the miners who secure the network and the nodes, they are no longer safe and secured. One prime example of a hard fork is Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash.

Now comes the question, why do these happen. So the answer lies in the fact that they happen because of the acceptance of emerging technology. It must be noted that not all of the hard forks are negative. It may be possible to add functionality, correct security threats and reverse a particular blockchain transaction using a hard crypto fork. They can also be accidental.


What Is A Soft Fork In Crypto?


In contrast to a hard fork, a soft fork is a backwards-compatible upgrade. Upgraded nodes can communicate with non-upgraded nodes. Bitcoin and Ethereum are examples of this, where the published and incorporated upgrades are backwards-compatible.


A graphic of how Blockchain Soft Fork works
Blockchain Soft Fork

In the case of the soft-crypto fork, the older nodes can still be seen and valid for those who moved to the newer ones.

Impact Of Forking.


Now when anything happens, it has an impact on the original things. So does the forking. Following entities get affected by the forking of blockchain-

  • Firstly the miners get affected since they have to decide whether the blockchain fork will bring something good and improve the revenue.

  • If the fork arises due to development and software issues, then the human resource is bound to get dividends affecting the operations.

  • It can divide the value of digital assets or cryptocurrencies. For example, if a person holds 2 BTC before the fork, the value after it will remain the same, but Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash values are different in the market.

  • Digital wallet developers have to develop new applications or redesign them to maintain the crypto assets of the new blockchain.



Conclusion.


We know blockchain technology very well now. The decentralised system of payments can be turned beneficial other than investing and earning. Like think of that you want to run a hospital with all your client's details anonymous, and yes, you can do it. Consider an educational platform where you can provide certifications and degrees through blockchain technology. IIT Kanpur of India has given digital degrees through blockchain technology on its convocation of the year 2020. Hence, it is a very useful technology. Forking, for instance, can tur beneficial for a few moments if it is providing higher security and lessens the risks.


Can you think of a few things that can regulate these forking or can bring something good here? Let me know in the comments what you think about the crypto fork!

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