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Of Crypto Forkings and Chain Splits

A division that the cryptosphere is better off without

Each human mind has its own way of thinking and looking at things. Those like-minded are likely to come together and join forces to achieve a common goal. The soul of decentralization is exactly what we are talking about — consensus — when the majority of the community comes to terms with designs and processes on a 2/3 basis. Even if the minority 1/3 does not agree, the project will go on without disruptions. But when more than 1/3 are disagreeing, a consensus fails. And the blockchain community is split. The split is the cause of forking that can lead to chain splits.

When the blockchain community is split in two, those who disagree with the original concept can cause a fork. But disagreements can occur without causing a fork, allowing the blockchain to operate normally. In other words, competing interpretations of the same software can happen any day only at a certain point and duration. If competing versions continue on over an extended period of time, the new versions may accumulate enough hash power to support its economic sustenance and control that it forks as the new version of the legacy blockchain.

A sustained chain split can be dangerous as it stirs clear water into a murky one, diluting the brand. The ensuing confusion as to who is who in the interpretation of the legacy blockchain can potentially stop investors from their tracks and will think twice before stepping any further, or will simply walk away. The split communities will have to prove who is the real one by marketing their own versions to the hilt, and the community decides who is the real McCoy.

A centralized pool of ideas from an animated community has proven time and again its optimal power in sustaining blockchain projects to success. Alternative ideas can clash with legacy ones to form another community within the blockchain. Their sustained promotion can change the minds of those with legacy ones to turn away and join the new revolution. The problem here is that the legacy system will run out of alternative ideas because of the split. A mix is more sustainable than a split. The combination of old and new ideas will see the project through in good and bad times. Alternative ideas may yet to be proven to stand on their weak knees that it needs the experience and robustness of the old. The old, on the other hand, if left on its own without innovation, variation, and adaptation, may not survive the constantly changing environment.

Miners, for their part, will be at a quandary as to what project they will follow. This puts the centralized hash power of the blockchain under the compromise. A chain split can leave the two clashing versions with reduced hash power. The group who controls the majority of the hash power is dangerously positioned to launch a 51% attack that can result in disastrous double-spending transactions.

The most threatening of all in a chain split is when developers depart, grounding the project to a halt. Developers are a rare breed tasked to sustain consensus codes while introducing new variants and features. Developers have the visionary ideas, experience, and expertise the keep a project running. The moment they leave or separate, expect problems to immediately crop up. Projects are left in a precarious situation as new developers are very hard to find. One good thing, though, is that developers, historically, rarely leave their projects and are hardcore loyal to it.

In every problem, there is, a solution emerges. For preventing the threat of chain splits, a collective decision-making process called governance is introduced. Rather than splitting, communities can coordinate how problems may be solved, instead of deserting. Governance tokens give members certain rights to speak and be heard in order to update consensus regulations, introduce adaptive models, and evolutionary solutions.

As with any community or group, internal divisiveness can be detrimental to its growth and sustainability. A united community that has mechanisms to address queries is likely to see its base grow and its value increase. A divided community can only incite tribalism and a silo mentality that is not good for the blockchain sphere as a whole. Forks and chain splits will only weaken the position of cryptocurrencies to mainstream adoption as a decentralized solution to the diminishing fiat.

Forks and chain split by themselves may prove a point but may not be that sustainable in the long run. Community members are urged to stick it out with the legacy blockchain project and work together to keep it relevant and usable from here to infinity.

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