Our upcoming Hard Fork, and what you need to know about forks

Like other software, blockchains require upgrades to improve the underlying code, add new functionality, or patch security vulnerabilities. However, unlike software apps offered in the play store, no one central authority enforces such updates. That’s why blockchain networks rely on so-called Forks. These are deliberate updates of the protocol, and they come in different flavors.

Soft Forks

A Soft Fork is a blockchain protocol update that still allows nodes that haven’t updated to the new version to communicate with the new chain. The original one remains. It’s similar to adding a new lane to a road, where everyone agrees to just use the new lane over time. Consequently, Soft Forks are backward compatible and don’t sever the continuity of previous versions.

One famous example of a Soft Fork was the addition of SegWit to the Bitcoin Network, which happened on August 23rd, 2017. The Bitcoin community was trying to address slow transaction speed and voted to introduce a few changes to the protocol to make it happen. With SegWit, the maximum block size capacity was increased from 1 MB to 2 MB, while simultaneously, the average size of transactions was reduced by 60%.

After the Soft Fork, nodes that hadn’t upgraded could still interact with the chain.

However, around the time of SegWit another disagreement in the Bitcoin community was brewing which lead to a Hard Fork.

Hard Fork

During a Hard Fork, all nodes are required to upgrade to the new version. Hard Forks are not backward compatible, which means that non-upgraded nodes can not interact with upgraded ones. Rules of the old blockchain are not accepted in new blocks. The network diverges into two potential paths: running the old rules and running the new version.

But not all Hard Forks are equal. Some are planned, while others are contentious.

Planned Hard Fork

During a planned hard fork, there is no permanent split. It’s announced well in advance and happens with a high degree of consensus within the community and the developers. The entire community upgrades to the new protocol and disregards the old one entirely.

At Minima, we’ll be going through a planned Hard Fork.

Contentious Hard Fork

A contentious Hard Fork is usually the result of disagreement in a community. One famous example is the creation of Bitcoin Cash. It ultimately leads to a split of the chain, and you end up with two different blockchains. In the case of Bitcoin Cash, some community members felt strongly that just increasing the block size to 2 MB wasn’t sufficient. They wanted to increase the block size to 8 MB. In the end, the “Big Blockers” went ahead with their changes and found sufficient support to fork their own protocol of the Bitcoin main chain — which is known to us all as Bitcoin Cash (BCH).

Minima Hard Fork

With our Hard Fork, we’re reaching a new milestone in our journey towards launching the most decentralized network for information and value transfer. With the new version, you will benefit from a simpler look and feel and an improved user experience for IncentiveCash participants.

With this planned Hard Fork scheduled for early December, we’re laying the foundation for Maxima — our Layer 2. The upgrade will introduce peer-to-peer networking, which enables scalability by letting nodes directly communicate and transfer with each other. During the Hard Fork, we’re asking every node runner to update their node to the new version of Minima.

We will share more on our Layer 2 - Maxima - soon. You can read more on our two layers already
here.

Our network wouldn't be possible without the thousands of node runners worldwide who make up the Minima Network. Thank you.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Will my IC rewards be affected?

Short answer: No. All your rewards will be safely stored inside your IC account. We're also adding all the rewards that might've gone missing with the Hard Fork.

What happens with the old android app and .jar?

We'll publish new versions for both.

What happens with my custom tokens?

The tokens you created will be lost when you update because they’re incompatible with the new version. Worry not; all IncentiveCash Tokens are stored separately and will be on your account. We are working on enabling the creation of custom tokens in Q1 2022

What happens to the MiniHub?

After the Update, we won’t have a MiniHub or MiniDapps for a while, but our tech is working hard to enable it all on the new system in Q1 2022.

How do I update my node?

We will be publishing details on how to update your node soon. Stay tuned.

Why do you need a Hard Fork?

With the Hard Fork, we’re adding a crucial part to enable future scalability and improve the security of Minima: our peer-to-peer networking. That means that nodes will be able to connect, communicate, and transfer directly peer-to-peer, which lays the foundation for our second layer Maxima. We’ll share more on that soon.

When will the hard fork happen?

The Hard Fork is scheduled for the 6th of December.

Where do I go with further questions?

Feel free to drop us your questions on telegram or in our Discord Channel.