In the vast glossary of the blockchain industry, there’s one word widely used and yet unknown to the average enthusiast — “hard fork”
What sounds like a very technical term, is actully a pretty simple concept pertaining to a coin’s underlying blockchain.
A Hard Fork is more of a developmental action.
To fully understand the concept — and appreciate the act of a “hard fork”, imagine a developer team working remotely, on a particular coin, say XCoin.
The team promises military grade security, instantaneous transactions, and multiple exchange support.
However, somewhere down the line, the team abjectly fails on various fronts, and ends up creating a product that takes 5 minutes to transfer, is not as secure as promised, as doesn’t feature on more than 2 crypto-exchanges.
A classic case of overpromised, under-delivered !
One fine day, an unrelated team of developers — or some disillusioned members of the aforementioned coin — decide to fix the flaws, and create a coin (on the same blockchain) that actually delivers what’s promised.
And because the fundamental concept of a blockchain is decentralized, open source software, practically any apt, experienced developer team can come together and create a better offering — without ANY permission or consensus of the previous developers !
What more — after the hack on ETH’s DAO, the Ethereum community almost unanimously voted in favor of a hard fork in order to roll back transactions that siphoned off tens of millions of dollars worth of digital currency by an anonymous hacker. The hard fork also allowed DAO token holders to get their ether funds returned to them.
And then, XCoin is “hard forked”, giving birth to the superior — let’s call it — Anonymous XCoin.
Here’s how the hard fork occurs –
In technical terms, the hard fork is “a radical change to the protocol that makes previously invalid blocks/transactions valid (or vice-versa).”
Put differently, a hard fork is a permanent divergence from the previous version of the blockchain, and nodes running previous versions will no longer be accepted by the newest version.
Hence — all running nodes of the XCoin blockchain, are required to update, or migrate to Anonymous XCoin’s blockchain. And with strong fundamentals, there’s would be little reason for miners to not support the upgraded coin.
Essentially, a fork is created in the XCoin blockchain: one path following previous nodes, transactions, and blockchain, and the other with a new, improved blockchain.
To make things more clear — let’s move to a real example of a hard fork, and one that deals with improvement on all fronts.
On 29 April, 2018, a developer team from Florida annouced the hard fork of Zclassic and Bitcoin — to create Anonymous Bitcoin.
As per the annoucement, the hard fork swiftly aims to merge bitcoin’s transaction prowess, with the secure features of Zclassic.
The Dev team of Anonymous Bitcoin has it clear — correct crucial security risks found in BTC and ZCL, and add new, improved functions.
In short — to create a BETTER, more trustworthy, consumer-centric cryptocurrency.
To make this possible, the Anonymous bitcoin team would split the path of ZCL’s, and BTC’s blockchain by invalidating transactions confirmed by nodes that have not been upgraded to the new version of the protocol software.
Unlike the ethereum DAO, this hard fork would not unwind the network’s transaction history.
Some features of the Anonymous Bitcoin include –
Real Decentralization - Anonymous Bitcoin uses equihash, a Proof-of-Work algorithm.
True Anonymity - Uses MIT’s tested zkSNARK’s, the most secure privacy protocol to date.
Community Drive - Social channels allow ideas crafted by the community to be taken into consideration.
Masternodes - We provide the ability to stake coins, incentivizing long term hodlers and allowing for dividend style returns over time.
Transparency - Although your spending habits should be kept private, the forking process should not. The team will be providing video updates and regular Q&A sessions, we are prepared to show the world what a legitimate fork entails.
Exchange Support - Through our elaborate network, Anonymous Bitcoin is in discussions with top volume exchanges.
In my next post, I shall explore the coin in a much detailed, deeper manner, dissecting the site, team members, and coin tech — in order to more effectively study and provide technical advice for all cryptocurrency enthusiasts, about summer’s most awaited bitcoin fork.
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