The topic of a hard fork in any cryptocurrency ecosystem is always met with a bit of criticism and confusion. Ever since the Ethereum hard forked to solve The DAO issue, there have been two currencies. When Metropolis is released, Ethereum will see another hard fork. This should not lead to a “third” iteration of Ethereum being created per se, although there is always a small possibility.
METROPOLIS HARD FORK SHOULD NOT WARRANT NEW CURRENCY
A lot of people are seemingly confused as to why Ethereum and Ethereum Classic came to be two different currencies. That is rather simple to explain, though. The Ethereum ecosystem has seen a total of five different hard forks so far. While that number is quite high, all of these “interventions” were needed, in the minds of the developers. One of these hard forks was created to solve The DAO’s stolen funds issue, which did not sit well with everyone in the community.
As a result of that hard fork, not all of the miners switched over to the blockchain supporting this fork. Instead, a small percentage of sash power kept mining the blockchain that existed before this fork was introduced, resulting in new coins being created on that chain. Since they could not be called “ether” coins, they rebranded the chain to Ethereum Classic. The new currency on that chain is known as ETC, and can be traded across many different exchanges around the world.
Some people are growing concerned the upcoming Metropolis hard fork could result in yet another Ethereum currency being created. While that is certainly possible on paper, it seems highly unlikely in reality. The reason why Ethereum Classic exists is due to a difference in ideology regarding The DAO “bailout.” Some people felt it was wrong to do this, and they branched off from the Ethereum network. That doesn’t mean every Ethereum hard fork will create a new currency, though.
If that would have been the case, there would be five different Ethereum currencies in existence right now. So far, only two exist, and it is highly doubtful that number will ever increase. That is, unless another ideological debate arises. Metropolis does not fall into this category by any means, though. Metropolis will introduce a lot of technical changes, but none that should force anyone to branch off from the network anytime soon.
This being said, it is important to note a hard fork could always have some unexpected consequences. There may be some miners or nodes who do not upgrade their client in time by the time Metropolis hits. That may sound highly unlikely, but it is not something people should underestimate by any means. Theoretically speaking, it is certainly possible there will a chain split, but the chances are relatively small where the Metropolis hard fork is concerned.
Some people may wonder why there is a need for hard forks to introduce major developmental changes in the Ethereum ecosystem. The developers are in favor of hard forking, as it is the most efficient way to upgrade the network. Metropolis has also been announced well in advance, which means everyone should be able to get their software in order with plenty of time to spare. It will be interesting to see whether or not we will see a chain split during this hard fork, but chances are slim to none.