Chainmerger: Can BTC and BCH Ever Become One Single Bitcoin Again?
Hard forks are everywhere these days. While not all of them are destructive, some split the community forever. We have many high profile cases like Ethereum (ETH) and Ethereum Classic (ETC), Bitcoin (BTC) and Bitcoin Cash (BCH) and many others.
After the split, these networks become separate entities that are simply no longer able to be compatible. What about merging them together again, though? It this a crazy idea? While it was certainly an impossible one for quite some time, the chainmerger question is now attracting more and more attention from people all over the world.
Vlad Zamfir, which is a lead developer of the Ethereum Foundation, is currently working in the Casper protocol for ETH and has proposed this question: is a chainmerger a possibility or only a far-out dream?
This sparked some heavy debate on whether it should be done or not and even the founder of the Ethereum blockchain, Vitalik Buterin, has given his opinion on the matter. According to him, it is not impossible but it is certainly very hard especially because not the whole community might like the merge and even take the new coins, sell and keep using the original ones.
According to Buterin, all these complexities can surely get in the way of a possible merger and even sink it after it happens.
Is A Chainmerger Possible?
This is a tricky question. It certainly is possible technologically speaking, but it will certainly take a lot of technology. To merge two chains, you would have to fork one into the other one. While the mechanics are pretty simple, there are several difficulties.
One of them is that both tokens would have to be merged together without diminishing their overall value and increasing their hard cap. You have to do it all while respecting the individual holdings that each user has, which can be a fearsome technical problem. It can be hard to keep the original hard cap while redistributing the tokens.
Also, this would need a practically unanimous consensus, which could not be possible to the rivalry that ETC x ETH and BTC x BCH have. Only after a general consensus could have been reached it would be possible to apply the merge and do it without risks.
The main trap was described by Vitalik Buterin. What if someone, even a small segment of people, would decide to simply keep using the old tokens while pocketing the new ones, this could create an issue in which the value of the new tokens would be very diminished as some people would still be using the old ones.
Even though, the merger could only happen in communities in which the leadership is pretty unified, which does not seem to be the case in almost all of the hard forks that happened.
Could you combine two different platforms into a merger? Maybe, but the effects would be unknown and this would also be very risky for all the people involved in this process.
Is There Any Benefit In A Chainmerger?
If we set aside all the difficulties and we believe that it is actually possible to make a chainmerger work (which technically is, despite the fact that logically, it is not), will there be enough benefits for engaging in such a risky activity?
A merger would definitely have some advantages, that we can affirm. Mergers between two different platforms could create a more comprehensive network. For instance, if you decide to merge Zcash with Ethereum, and ETH-ZEC token could use smart contracts that would have a viable encryption method. The companies would have to decide to be allies instead of competing, though.
Another case could be made for similar tokens like Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash. In the event that the two communities could finally agree in their vision, they could potentially benefit from each other’s development and create a stronger project in the end that would add value instead of dividing it.
You could, for instance, merge Bitcoin and Litecoin. Both technologies are very similar and while no one is near to dying, they could be considerably more valuable together than they are when they’re separate. If a union could be brokered, this could help both these tokens a lot.
Unfortunately, the crypto scenario is simply full of rivalries that do not exactly help any company. In a very positive future, chainmergers could be a great way to finally set these rivalries aside and build something together.
Will they happen, though? Hardly. It is simply too optimistic to believe that the communities will ever agree with these mergers but they can certainly hypothetically happen and we might even see one in the future with some luck.