The team behind a soon-to-be-launched cryptocurrency has issued the notable claim that it will be un-forkable.
Announced today, Hedera is a public network built on Hashgraph, a type of distributed ledger technology (DLT) developed by the software company Swirlds, which has already deployed private versions with several enterprise clients.
Hedera Hashgraph, the governing body for the network, raised $18 million through a private sale of the as-yet-to-be-named token in January. That sale, the company said, represented less than 20% of the total supply.
Different than a blockchain, Hashgraph is billed as more secure, scalable and “fairer” than either the proof-of-work mechanism securing bitcoin or the permissioned systems that banks and other corporations have been experimenting with. The creators say the Hedera version can facilitate micropayments, distributed file storage and support smart contracts out of the gate.
But perhaps what’s most striking about Hedera is the use of a patented – rather than open-source – codebase in an otherwise open network.
While the code will be publicly reviewable, and developers will be free to build applications on top of the network without a license, the governing body for Hedera says it will enforce the patent to prevent copying of the codebase or the creation of a competing platform and associated currency.
Mance Harmon, a co-founder and the CEO of Swirlds, calls this situation “transparency with stability.”
“We can guarantee our platform will never fork,” he told CoinDesk, adding that it will be “one platform with one currency forever.”
While the option of forking is viewed by many in crypto as a positive, since it allows those unhappy with a particular project’s direction to go their own way (not to mention sometimes providing free money to those who hold the original token), “we view that as a hindrance to mainstream market adoption,” Harmon said.
Hedera’s white paper lays out the rationale this way:
WThe hard forks that bitcoin & ethereum have experienced have arguably damaged the network effect of their corresponding currencies