What if the original digital item you bought for the price of 20 acres of fertile land turned into a copy? Could you still call that item a non-fungible token? Could you still call your old boss and beg for your job back?
This may sound like an impossible hypothetical, if you have the basic understanding of what a blockchain is (which you can gain here) but it is, in fact, the very problem hard forks pose to the NFT market. When one blockchain becomes two you're not seeing a copy of an original... you're seeing two originals. Twins.
Okay, let me explain.
What is a Hard Fork?
To solve for disagreements within a blockchain's community over an update, protocols can divide like cells. This allows the blockchain's developers to move forward with their updates on a brand new blockchain. Except it's not brand new, it's the same as the old. Every transaction ever made on the original blockchain is copied over to the new and, before any updates are made, there are no digitally discernible differences between them. Not even down to the recorded time of their creation. Two impregnable records of one series of actions exist, effectively breaking the 'trustless' nature of blockchain technology.
But Should I Really Be Worried?
No. Because you own both versions of the item you bought. Also, forks don't have to be hard... they can be soft. When an update is made it is applied to a blockchain's nodes. Soft forks maintain compatibility between the nodes of the old blockchain and those of the new, allowing outdated nodes to process transactions and push new blocks to the new chain, so long as they don't break new protocol rules. Since this provides the best of both worlds, developers aren't left with a polarised community in the wake of their ambitions.
So The Fun & Games Continue?
More or less... all that's demanded of you is discernment. When you invest in a token or NFT you're also investing in the blockchain they run on. You need to know what its developers are like, the integrity of their blockchain as it currently stands and you need to get a sense of the community involved. That may sound like a lot of mining for trust, considering the fact that we are talking about trustless financial technology... but what is life without both the ingenuity and flaws of humanity? There'd be no problems to solve, no room for improvement. No need to exist. A vast world is also a mad world... so, let's celebrate problem solving with some fun and games!
NetGaming's way ahead of us with Aped - an NFT inspired 3x3 online slot that's about as whacky as it looks. Its #Wagmi Multiplier Chart, what you see just below the reels (looks like a candlestick chart for stocks), marks the value of a multiplier you've just landed! Look out for Ape Wilds if you're gunning for multipliers and Radioactive Scatters if you're looking to rack up free spins!
Enjoy it here, at Wildz, and remember... a vast world's a mad world.