See also a related post: Consensual Currency.
“Forks” (or “hard-forks”) are a highly contentious topic in cryptocurrencies. You can analyze a fork with two questions:
- Does it result in two (persistent) separate branches of the original blockchain?
- Does it result in community schism?
In principle, any of the four combinations of these two consequences could happen.
Interestingly, three out of four of these combinations have already occurred in practice!
In the future, as the Zcash community grows, there may come a time when we need multiple, distinct technologies, each one building on a different branch of the original blockchain. This is likely to happen, because different technologies offer different trade-offs to their users, and some uses of Zcash might benefit more from one technology, while other uses may benefit more from a different, incompatible design.
I hope that, when that time comes, the Zcash community fills in the unoccupied space in the matrix above, deploying different technologies, well-fitted to different needs, but continuing to be tolerant and cooperative with one another, to the benefit of all.