2018's Big Question: Can Bitcoin #Forks Deliver Value?
This year has been pivotal for digital assets like bitcoin and ether, resulting in unprecedented #price increases, #capital #investment and general awareness.
But despite these successes, one of the fundamental properties of all cryptocurrencies – their decentralized nature – has been under attack in 2017.
With this in mind, it's worth remembering that a core value proposition of blockchains is that there is no one central intermediary or organization that controls them. Instead, these protocols are used to enable the network to come to a consensus on the validity of #transactions and data.
Bitcoin was the first #digital #payment #system to function without a #central repository, and the concept (fairly novel in 2009) is now widely accepted and becoming more ubiquitous. But the world's first #blockchain has evolved since its humble beginnings, and today there are variations on the original – most notably, #bitcoincash and bitcoin gold.
Forks have become so prevalent one might call the model an initial #fork offering (IFO). Not just #bitcoingold and bitcoin cash, but more bitcoin variations initiated by #Chinese companies such as "super bitcoin," "bitcoin diamond" and "bitcoin god" are on the way.
And while all may be finding a market, it's worth asking the question, are these networks delivering on the promise of the #technology ? And should consumers care?
Framing the question
An argument can be made that the three #cryptocurrency networks are all different in how well they encapsulate the vision of #bitcoin as a decentralized #network.
But it's worth noting, too, that #decentralization is frequently achieved by #market economics.
When thinking about this, I'm reminded of the classic question asked by Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev in 1988: "I haven’t seen a single bread queue. Please take me to meet the person in charge of supplying bread to London. I must learn his secret." In fact, there was no one in #charge for supplying bread to the #city of #London, that's why there were no queues.