How to fork XRP Ledger if Ripple acts maliciously
If Ripple acts maliciously token holders could, theoretically, fork the XRP Ledger. In fact, this is one of the features that makes the network decentralized, argues CTO David Schwartz. Heres how to actually do it and why it ultimately raises concerns around Ripples control over XRP.
How to fork XRP Ledger
In a technical discussion last week, Ripple CTO David Schwartz revealed its relatively easy to fork XRP Ledger.
If a group of nodes adopts the same UNL, which doesnt include any nodes outside of their group, then that would allow them to do the equivalent of a fork, agreed Schwartz. This would create an entirely new tradeable asset using the history of the XRP Ledger from that point forward.
Schwartz added that the forked off group could then make any code and amendment changes that they wanted.
A successful fork could allow a group to make enormous changes to a blockchain. Like in Bitcoin, those who control code changes and amendments could, for example, create new coins or increase the supply cap.
In December of last year, Schwartz clarified that forking XRP Ledger is even easier than forking a proof-of-work (PoW) coin like Bitcoin.
If a group wants to fork the XRP ledger, all they need to do is agree on system rules and roughly agree on validators that will follow those rules. Its much easier than forking a PoW chain because you dont need miners and you dont become insecure if you cant incentivize them.
Holding Ripple accountable
The ability to fork the XRP Ledger is critical because its one of the primary arguments David Schwartz and others backing XRP use to defend its decentralization. Ripple is emphatic that XRP Ledger is, in fact, not controlled by the corporation.
Any two groups who dont agree can fork the XRP Ledger, says Schwartz:
If nobody agreed with Ripple, Ripple would have to choose between being alone on a worthless network or giving in.
I do think that fork freedom which ensures value creators cant be coerced into running with rules they dont like is one of the most important aspects of decentralization.
However, it seems practically implausible to fork the XRP Ledger, raising questions over the nature of Ripples control over XRP. To better understand this dynamic, its important to understand the nuances of XRP Ledgers consensus algorithm.
Primer on Ripple Protocol Consensus A ...