Today, open source is the foundation of many businesses. Every major technology starts with it. Since the birth of Linux, the advantages of this model have been more than obvious. For young developers that are just getting started in tech, open source is like a treasure. Github and development teams that openly code the world are the majority, not exceptions. Microsoft, a company built on copyrights and ownership over ideas and codes, recently bought Github for $7.5 billion dollars.
In the blockchain space, open source was and is the norm. It facilitates the creation of simultaneous versions of blockchain networks. These instances may vary in terms of shared history and modified codebases. The first “alt-coins” were just rough copies of Bitcoin code, adjusted slightly for different block rewards and inflation schedules. And these were called hard forks. A hard fork is a permanent divergence from the previous version of the blockchain, and nodes running previous versions will not be accepted anymore by the latest version. This creates a fork in the blockchain: one path follows the new, upgraded blockchain, and the other path continues along the old, initial version. Usually after a short period of time, those on the old chain will realize that their version of the blockchain is outdated or irrelevant and quickly upgrade to the latest version.
But this article will focus on the new technical concept, a different kind of forking: The Hard Spoon. In most cases, when a hard fork happens, replicating accounts can be a big problem. However, due to the approach used with a hard spoon, this becomes quite easy. A hard spoon essentially is a new blockchain which takes the database of an existing chain into account.
Cosmos’ Tendermint aims to do this with Ethermint (a hard spoon of Ethereum) and with OmiseGO. In the case of OmiseGo, the OMG token balances are duplicated to the Tendermint blockchain. In the case of Ethereum, they are hard spooning ETH by taking the account balances of existing ETH holders, replicating those values to secure them within Ethermints blockchain.
“A hard spoon is a meta-protocol on top of a blockchain creating a token that inherits the blockchain’s underlying token’s balances. The idea of a soft spoon would be to create two competing *branches of a protocol* within *the same blockchain.*” — Vitalik Buterin
“Hard spoon: a new chain that takes into account state from an existing chain; not to compete, but to provide broad access.” — Jae Kwon
The Hard Spoon allows for cryptocurrencies to exist on multiple blockchains, while taking existing account balances into consideration. A key component of the hard spoon is that it is non-contentious. It is not intended to result in competition between chains or ‘steal’ market share from the original chain. The goal is to provide broader access to a cryptocurrency by replicating a coin or tokens account balances and minting a parallel cryptocurrency that functions on a divergent blockchain. This is meant to offer greater efficiency for the users of that particular blockchain.
From our point of view it is good to see a different approach for bringing value to new tokens. It could lead to a performance boost, which complements the existing blockchain. Developers can now attract users from an existing blockchain without compromising the old network. Rather than compete with or take away the market share of the underlying blockchain, a hard spoon will invite community members from the original chain to explore a new platform. We see it as the merging between two important concepts: Open source and collaboration. These kind of ideas coupled with the right execution will guide this environment towards mainstream adoption. At Pool of Stake we closely track any developments and new updates that can push the evolution of this emerging technology. We think the hard spoon can bring a lot of benefits and like any other new feature, it needs time for implementation and testing. Patience is the much needed virtue in our crypto-community. Follow us and stay tuned for more updates and do not forget to secure your Pool of Stake tokens.