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What is Shadow Fork? Understanding the concept of shadow fork

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ژانویه 11, 2024
What are blockchain reorg attacks?
What are blockchain reorg attacks?
ژانویه 12, 2024
What is Shadow Fork? Understanding the concept of shadow fork

To better understand the concept of fork, it is appropriate to start from the beginning of the concept of blockchains. All blockchains related to digital currencies have their own rules, which are referred to as protocols. These protocols determine how a blockchain should operate. When a blockchain starts operating with specific protocols, it is not possible for anyone to change its rules.

Introducing shadow fork

The solution for such situations is to create a fork of the blockchain in question, which is actually the same as updating or creating a new blockchain. When programmers face performance problems or want to make changes to a blockchain, they use the original blockchain code and create a fork of it. For example, Bitcoin Cash is known as a fork of the Bitcoin blockchain. The list of Bitcoin forks is very long and each has its own characteristics.

What is Shadow Fork?

After gaining an understanding of the basic concept of a fork, we can answer the question “What is a Shadow Fork?” to answer Shadow Fork refers to a process in which the data of the mainnet (mainnet) of the blockchain of a digital currency is copied to its testnet (TestNet). This process allows developers to test their desired changes in the testnet environment and then apply them to the main network. Shadow Fork helps developers test things like deploying contracts, running nodes, and testing infrastructure in a more optimized test environment.

What is the importance of Shadow Fork for main blockchain networks?

What is the importance of Shadow Fork for main blockchain networks?

We must say that every blockchain is reviewed by its users after publication. Because of this, developers may encounter criticisms and bugs that require improvements, upgrades, or updates. A Shadow Fork allows developers to test their ideas and changes in a test environment and push them to the main network from there. This process reduces the amount of errors and weaknesses in the updated versions of the main networks.

Why Shadow work was created

Some of the important reasons why developers use the Shadow Fork method for blockchain mainnet development are:

Fixing technical problems: Any blockchain may have technical problems that developers are looking to improve. Shadow Fork helps to improve the technical problems of the main network by using the tested items in the test environment.

Development and increase of features: Some developers are looking to increase the features of their blockchain. By using Shadow Fork, they can test their new features first and then apply them to the main blockchain.

An example of Shadow Fork

The Ethereum network is the first network to use Shadow Fork for its development and integration. The network has used this process to integrate the Proof of Work (POW) consensus protocol with the Proof of Stake (POS) consensus protocol and is testing this integration in a Shadow Fork.

On April 11, 2022, Marius van der Wijden, a member of the Ethereum team, announced that the Shadow Fork had happened for the first time on the network.

In the Ethereum beta, which uses the Proof-of-Stake consensus protocol, transactions are executed and validated by network nodes instead of miners. Nodes in this type of network are the shareholders of the network that participate in it. This action seems to be due to reducing the energy consumption of the Proof-of-Work consensus protocol in the network.

Other types of forks

In addition to Shadow Fork, other forks are also used in blockchain networks, which are known as Hard Fork and Soft Fork. These two types of forks, despite their differences, each have their own tasks and goals. To learn more about these types of forks, it is recommended to read the related materials.