The Dangers Of Hard Forks In Cryptocurrency Protocol Evolution

What you think about hard forks as a way to evolve protocols in blockchains?

What do we think of hard forks as a way to evolve protocols?

I’m a big fan of automotive crash tests. I’m a big fan because one of the reasons we have safe automobiles is due to automotive crash tests.

I’m also a big fan of using dummies in the automotive crash tests, where I’m not the passenger.

If someone said, “We have a new bus, everybody get on! We don’t know how it will behave, but we will run a crash test now to find out. Jump on!”

That is how I feel about hard forks. I would rather not be in the crash test, when the crash test is happening.

Hard forks are dangerous. They’re difficult, complex, and have unintended behaviors.

Hard forks bring together the nexus of politics, community response, independent economic agents,

self-interest, monetary policy, and technology. And any one of those can go wrong.

In a past example, we saw a hard fork in Ethereum. The hard fork, technologically, was perfect. Perfect! Economically, politically, in terms of the community and self-interested actors? Not so perfect.

About 10% of the economic activity, community, hash rate, ended up forking off to a separate coin and now there are two systems with competing interests and competing designs. I would rather not see that in Bitcoin.

I’m a bit skeptical of hard forks being used as the mechanism to rapidly iterate and mature the protocol.

That is one of Ethereum’s design trade-offs.

Because of its model, it needs to iterate a lot more to reach the same level of security/maturity as Bitcoin. It has a larger attack surface, a larger exposure surface, so it will go through a lot more hard forks than Bitcoin.

Is that a good thing? Is that a bad thing? It depends what you’re trying to use it for.

I don’t think it makes for very good sound money, but it makes it good for a robust platform, but that is a trade-off that allows Ethereum to have much more flexible application development. I’m interested in that.

I think that is the choice I would make for Ethereum, but it is not the choice I would make for Bitcoin.

Does that help? A bit of an esoteric topic.


About the author

Satoshi Nakamoto

We developed bitcoin. This post is derivated from aantoop yt video with same headline under cc by license.

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