You may have heard about the Ethereum fork that is coming up soon. Some of the clients have already upgraded to the new standard, and the creators (Vitalik Buterin included) are confident that most people will make the switch, ensuring that the fork isn’t a big problem at all.
If you have been interested in cryptocurrencies for a long time you will know that forks are a very controversial subject. Whenever a fork is discussed, especially when it comes to Bitcoin, there is a lot of drama; a lot of passionate people talking very loudly, both in favor of and against the fork.
You won’t find the same happening with Ethereum and there is a simple explanation for it. Bitcoin and Ethereum are two very different things built on the same piece of technology.
Bitcoin is a currency; Ethereum is an infrastructure
When a fork happens, the fundamentals of the mining market completely change. People hate forks in Bitcoin because it has a chance that it will end up damaging their current assets by affecting the value of Bitcoin. This is why people are so defensive – they have amassed wealth in Bitcoin and do not want a fork to mess it up for them. However, without forking, it isn’t feasible for new people to enter the market, which is why they happen. If there were no forks then none of us will be able to afford Bitcoins ever.
Ethereum is a completely different beast. Ethereum’s fork isn’t about creating drama; instead it is being lauded by the community. The reason is simple. Ethereum is not a currency. It is an infrastructure on which you can run your own blockchain based apps. Thus if the coins (Ether) become too expensive the whole infrastructure is useless.
Ether had become too expensive
That is exactly what is happening. Look at the Ethereum forums on Reddit and you will see a lot of people complaining that Ethereum isn’t affordable anymore. People are looking for Ethereum alternatives just so they can run their tests and experiments at an affordable rate. All of this is happening because Ethereum has become very popular and it is too expensive to get new Ethers now.
The fork is being welcomed because people aren’t hoarding Ethers to get rich. They are using Ether to power their ideas. Thus people need to be able to spend Ethers. The new fork called Byzantium will allow new blocks to be created eight times faster. This means that it will now be much faster and cheaper to create new blocks which will make Ethereum a great place for blockchain based developers again.
That is why the Ethereum fork is unlike anything we have seen with Bitcoin. It also has a lesson for cryptocurrency enthusiasts; Ethereum is not a cryptocurrency and it does not act like a currency. Do not try to predict Ethereum’s growth or demise based on trends and data from Bitcoin. Ethereum is its own thing; a unique innovation that honestly has no peer right now.