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One of the more prominent recent examples of a hard fork of the Ethereum protocol is ‘EtherZero’.
The EtherZero block was launched on block 4936270, which occurred on January 20th, 2018. According to its website at the time of writing, it still does not possess a block explorer, which is a bit disconcerting for any cryptocurrency in this space that wishes to receive any level of legitimacy or widespread adoption.
These are the purported features, according to its website:
Two-Layer Network System — In short, for those that do not know — Ethereum allows individuals to power their transactions via the Gas that is supplied to the network. EtherZero eliminates this system and instead has opted to add another layer to the protocol as a means of facilitating transactions that take place on the chain through the dApps.
0 TX Fee — This purported bonus feature speaks for itself!
Instant Payments — ‘Instant’ is always subjective in the crypto world and we won’t be able to assess the quickness of the payments of the network until it has reached the phase of 100% release.
High Scalability — See ‘Instant Payments’ ^
Autonomous Community Governance System — Rather than having a centralized authority that is able to settle disputes or make overarching decisions about the future direction of the chain, there is a governance system that has a democratized means of implementing solutions.
Masternode System — Becoming increasingly popular in the cryptoworld is the implementation of a Proof of Stake consensus algorithm that is contingent upon ‘masternodes’, or ‘voters’ that approve the blocks on the chain that are chosen based on how large their stake is in the cryptocurrency’s ecosystem.
It thrives on an initial supply of 194 million ‘EtherZero’ tokens, which is a quantity of 100 million more of its units than what Ethereum holds and it also utilizes the PoW consensus algorithm, just like Ethereum. The difficulty adjustment is dynamic, and one must use GPU hardware in order to mine blocks on its network.
According to its website, it can also scale to 10,000+ transactions per second as well.
This is the current roadmap that can be found on the coin’s website at this moment:
Based on their roadmap, they have not manifested any of the tech necessary to truly evaluate its efficacy as a currency, let alone one that is a fork of Ethereum.
As you most likely observed with the Bitcoin hard forks, the purpose of most forks is to provide some sort of inherent utility that the legacy chain did not possess and refused to or could not implement.
The primary feature that it boasts is that individuals will be able to make instant payments to one another with shocking speed without needing to receive any sort of fee or compensation.
This design means that the miners must rely on the block reward exclusively. There are both pros and cons to such a PoW blockchain consensus structure that EtherZero will have to navigate between in the near future.