What Is a Hard Spoon?

If you have been interested in the world of crypto, you are probably familiar with cryptocurrency hard forks. It seems that we will soon also be dealing with something known as a hard spoon, which occurs when a new crypto is minted by replicating the account balances of an existing crypto. The hard spoon operates in a very different manner from the hard fork, but as time progresses, it may become quite common. However, it still remains to be seen how much value this approach brings to the crypto community and innovation.

The Hard Spoon in a Nutshell

The hard spoon concept takes a very different approach from a hard fork. In September last year, the Cosmos Network announced that the first hard spoon will be deployed in late May or early June 2018, and seems to involve the Ethermint token. This token would be separate and distinct from the ATOM, which is the staking token for Cosmos. As blockchain project becomes more complicated and reliant on other platforms, it is quite evident that some interesting issues may occur.

According to the team, a hard spoon can best be described as a meta-protocol on top of a blockchain to create a token which takes the account state of an existing chain into account. This concept was first proposed by Vitalik Buterin, a confirmed creator of the Ethereum blockchain, although most people overlooked his comment at the time, by the look of things.

“A hard spoon is a meta-protocol on top of a blockchain creating a token that inherits the blockchain’s underlying token’s balances. The idea of a soft spoon would be to create two competing *branches of a protocol* within *the same blockchain.*” — Vitalik Buterin

This does not necessarily warrant a novel approach. However, the hard spoon is not focused on competition, but to provide broad access. In most cases, when a hard fork occurs, replicating balances can be an enormous issue, yet this becomes a trivial manner when using the hard spoon approach. For the first creation of this kind, the Ethereum blockchain will be hard-spooned by taking the account balances of existing Ethereum holders, replicating those values, and pegging them within the Ethermint VM zone.

In essence, holders of ETH will have the coins replicated in the EVM zone, and they can then be redeemed as fee token within Ethermint. This is an interesting concept that may not make much sense to many people right now, but it will still be interesting to see how this venture plays out in the long run. For example, in the beginning, Bitcoin was more novelty than luxury. It did not make much sense to anyone except its creators and it was traded by only a few tech enthusiasts. Right now, Bitcoin is dominating headlines around the world, and it is now worth billions of dollars.

This is a very interesting approach to bringing value to new tokens which borrow some elements from existing cryptos. Rather than compete with or take away the market share of the underlying blockchain, a hard spoon will invite community members from the original chain to explore a new platform. It’s important to note that a hard spoon does promise to offer advantages over an existing blockchain, which could lead to a performance boost, which complements the existing blockchain.


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Torsten Hartmann
Torsten Hartmann

Torsten Hartmann has been an editor in the CaptainAltcoin team since August 2017. He holds a degree in politics and economics. He gained professional experience as a PR for a local political party before moving to journalism. Since 2017, he has pivoted his career towards blockchain technology, with principal interest in applications of blockchain technology in politics, business and society.

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