As the date for the Ethereum merger draws near, non-fungible token NFT marketplace OpenSea declared it would refrain from speculating on forks and limit its focus to only supporting NFTs that are running on enhanced proof-of-stake PoS blockchains.
Opensea announced on Twitter (1) that, while its team is not speculating on any hypothetical forks, it should be clear that, if there are any forked NFTs, OpenSea (2) will continue to offer only the updated chain. It should be noted that the team is preparing the NFT trading platform to address any issues that may arise with the impending Ethereum Merge to ensure a smooth transition.
The OpenSea team is confident that there won't be any significant issues because it has promised that users will be regularly monitored, managed, and communicated with throughout the process. The team has also urged developers to review the information about the merge on the Ethereum website.
In addition to OpenSea, Chainlink (3) also stated its support for the PoS (4) switchover of the Ethereum (5) manner. It clarified that the protocol would not support any Ethereum forks that might occur after the merge. Additionally, it reassured the community that they would make every effort to prepare for any problems that might arise during the shift.
Nothing is yet clear, and the market will determine any changes in the price of the token. The changes to the economic structure following the merger may impact the price of Ether, and changes to the protocol will inevitably impact the supply of ETH.
The native asset for the prospective ETHPoW split, potentially to be backed by Ethereum's PoW miners, will be traded for $100 even if it does not yet exist, as this happened after several exchanges started to list ETHW (6) and ETHPoS ETHS (7) on their trading platforms.
What is a forked NFT?
A fork occurs every time a community modifies the protocol or fundamental set of rules for a blockchain. When this occurs, the chain divides and creates a second blockchain traveling on a different and exciting route while sharing some of the original blockchain's history.
The decentralized open-source software known as Blockchain is what powers NFTs and cryptocurrencies. Blocks of data that make up blockchains are analogous to a long train traced back to the first transaction on the network.
They depend on their communities to develop and maintain their underlying code because they are open source. Most digital collectibles and assets have their autonomous development teams in charge of updating and enhancing the network, similar to how updates to internet protocols make web browsing get better over time.
A fork occasionally occurs to make cryptocurrencies more secure or to provide new features. Creating entirely new coins and ecosystems by forking is another option open to cryptocurrency creators.
A soft fork is a blockchain software upgrade that becomes the new set of standards for that currency as long as users embrace it. Since the changes are backward-compatible with the pre-fork blocks, soft forks have been used for Bitcoin (8) and Ethereum to add new features or functionalities normally at the programming level. The result is a single blockchain.
A hard fork happens when the code changes to the extent that the new version is no longer backward-compatible with prior blocks. The blockchain separates into its original and subsequent versions that adhere to a different set of rules.
Why does forking occur?
Similar to how every piece of software needs to be updated, blockchains likewise undergo regular updates for several reasons:
- Adding functionality
- Addressing security risks
- Resolving disagreement within the community about cryptocurrency’s direction
How are forks changing the digital landscape?
The Ethereum blockchain is made to execute "smart contracts," sections of code that automatically carry out a list of planned actions when a specific set of conditions are satisfied. Applications for smart contracts range from games to logistics systems and even DeFi DApps.
In that example, the multiple Ethereum forks—Ethereum, Ethereum Classic (11), and Ethereum 2.0 (12)—represent the newer versions of the operating system, offering features and efficiency that the earlier versions may have lacked. The Ethereum blockchain powers all of these apps.
As the older and newer versions may eventually merge or keep moving further apart, an older fork may continue to be a reliable, well-tested platform. In contrast, a subsequent fork may give developers wholly unique directions for engaging with it. Soft forks are blockchain updates, much like how software is updated, and hard forks are completely new operating systems, much like how Linux and Max OS are developments of the UNIX platform (13).
NFTs are used to obtain digital signatures from artists and have value because the artists stake their reputation and name on selling their signatures about the artwork they have produced. This enables scarcity and rarity in an NFT made by the artist.
A hard fork occurs when developers cannot agree on the same course of action, resulting in duplicates of each NFT created on that specific chain when the chain divides in two. This is not considered a great option in the sector that appreciates rarity.
An artist should be able to build their brand, fame, and reputation on the NFT/blockchain with confidence that duplications will never occur. According to a popular theory, there will only ever be one "Girl With A Pearl Earring" (14). Most of the blockchain will split numerous times in the next 100 years, producing limitless copies of NFTs.
Some blockchains decided to build chains that would never fork, making them secure and enabling the creation of NFTs with the confidence that they won't be copied while maintaining the autonomy and rarity they are known for.