Accelerating Evolution through Forking

Fred Ehrsam's post "Accelerating Evolution through Forking", where he examines some of the issues around blockchain forking, including economic incentives.

Forking is a second critical evolutionary mechanism for blockchains. Just like mutations to DNA in biological organisms allow for evolution through natural selection, forking lets us run multiple experiments in parallel where the strongest versions survive. Unlike Web 2.0 companies, forking a blockchain is possible because the current code and state of a blockchain can be freely copied. It is the equivalent of any developer being able to make a copy of Facebook’s code and spin up a competing version at any time— something a Web 2.0 company would never allow.

However, there is a key issue with the economic incentives with the forks we have seen so far: the groups pushing forward new forks have very little economic incentive to make their fork succeed. This is because forking behavior to date replicates the token ownership of the prior chain instead of modifying it to incentivize its new core community.