A Future Friendly Fork

Zooko Wilcox | Jan 11, 2017

See also a related post: Consensual Currency.

“Forks” (or “hard-forks”) are a highly contentious topic in cryptocurrencies. You can analyze a fork with two questions:

In principle, any of the four combinations of these two consequences could happen.

Interestingly, three out of four of these combinations have already occurred in practice!

A diagram depicting whether a fork resulted in a persistent branch of the blockchain and a schism in the community

In the future, as the Zcash community grows, there may come a time when we need multiple, distinct technologies, each one building on a different branch of the original blockchain. This is likely to happen, because different technologies offer different trade-offs to their users, and some uses of Zcash might benefit more from one technology, while other uses may benefit more from a different, incompatible design.

I hope that, when that time comes, the Zcash community fills in the unoccupied space in the matrix above, deploying different technologies, well-fitted to different needs, but continuing to be tolerant and cooperative with one another, to the benefit of all.

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Notice: Network Upgrade Overwinter will activate at block 347500, to be mined 2018-06-25 12:00 UTC-04:00 assuming 150 seconds/block