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With so many forks occurring in Bitcoin (Bitcoin Classic, Cash, Gold, Diamond, Silver, ...) I was wondering if it was possible for IOTA to have a fork?

I know that IOTA uses a "DAG" (Directed acyclic graph) instead of a blockchain but how does this help?

Can IOTA have a hard fork? If not, why not?

  • Please ask a new question on miners, since it's a different and complex topic for itself – Zauz Dec 2 '17 at 22:07
  • I know it's a complex topic. I do not know how far the question edit changes what I was asked. Anyway thank you. – Avelino Dec 2 '17 at 22:09
  • There is a related question on whether the IOTA protocol can be adapted in the future. The answers there may help as well. – Lanu Moe Jan 5 '18 at 21:22
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IOTA can theoretically have a hard fork. In order for that to happen, a few things must occur:

1) The forker must decide on a state of the tangle that will be used for the fork. This is more difficult than in blockchain because there aren't specific blocks, the tangle is constantly changing.

1a) This depends on the definition of fork -- in blockchain, forks have come to take on the definition of maintaining the same blockchain, which is why users will be issued equivalent amounts of the new forked currency if it ends up splitting from the original. This is what is difficult to achieve in a tangle based currency. However, this is not technically the original definition of a fork is, so technically a fork that copies the IOTA codebase and starts from scratch is easily doable.

2) The forked chain has some sort of scalability protection like IOTA currently has with the coordinator. The problem with trying to fork IOTA is that by design, IOTA requires an active network with transactions occurring in order to prevent a malicious spam attack. By forking, if you are not certain that the forked tangle will be active, it can become very vulnerable to attacks unless a coordinator or other type of protection is put in place. This will make it very difficult to fork IOTA once the coordinator is removed and it is self sustaining.

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Most of IOTA is open source, and the parts that are not (like the Coordinator) can be implemented by interesting parties themselves (no guarantee that their Coordinator is on par with IOTA's, though).

Therefore, it can be forked, and it has already happened.

The fork was without forking the ledger (like Litecoin is a fork of Bitcoin), so IOTA holders did not get another cryptocurrency for free. But it would also possible to include the latest snapshot in the fork.

When you see their tangle explorer, it looks very similar to IOTA's, just that they call the tangle a mesh in the extend that they also have a "Lastest Solid Submesh Milestone".

Apart from that, they are not very successful (not in the top 1000 on coinmarketcap).

Question is: Why would anyone want that? IOTA is still pretty beta, and every fix made by the IOTA foundation would have to be redone by the forkers.

  • 2
    to the person who downvoted this: I added more details. Is it better now? If not please tell how I can improve it. – mihi Dec 2 '17 at 22:08
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    I did not give downvote in your question. I'm waiting for other people to respond before giving it as correct. – Avelino Dec 2 '17 at 22:17

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