Cryptocurrencies undergo constant change, but sometimes, there is opposition. Can these three forks preserve each coin’s classic features?
It takes time to change a cryptocurrency. Usually, the community behind a coin must settle on new features. Then, miners and node operators must enact those changes by upgrading their software. However, not everyone needs to agree: individual factions can fork the blockchain and introduce their own set of changes.
Many forks aim to introduce new features to a cryptocurrency, but some aim to preserve existing features. The latter strategy has had mixed results: some classic forks have gained more support than others, and not all have been a success in terms of market performance. Here’s how three “classic” crypto forks have played out.
Ethereum Classic was created in 2016 following an attack on Ethereum’s DAO. This exploit could have cost the Ethereum ecosystem $70 million, so the community eventually agreed to fork Ethereum, creating a separate chain without the attack transaction. However, about 20% of miners dissented and continued the original chain.
This chain is now known as Ethereum Classic, and it has its own cryptocurrency, ETC (rather than ETH). Ethereum Classic mainly aims to ensure that transactions are final and free from interference. Additionally, it delayed its mining difficulty bomb, meaning that ETC mining will remain profitable even as Ethereum moves toward staking.
Ethereum Classic is still going strong: it weathered a double-spend attack in January, and it has just executed its Atlantis upgrade to improve interoperability with Ethereum. ETC has achieved a $550 million market cap, making it the 21st largest coin on the market. This gives ETC 1/36th of Ethereum’s $20 billion market cap.
ZClassic was created to contest the financial model of Zcash (ZEC), a popular privacy coin. Zcash used slow start mining when it went live in…