A chain split is another name for a cryptocurrency fork, where a cryptocurrency’s code is copied to create entirely new cryptocurrencies. It is a situation where a new project is created based on an existing cryptocurrency but totally independent of the original blockchain from the point when the split occurs.
When does a blockchain split happen?
There are several reasons for a cryptocurrency fork. As the blockchain space evolves, developers of crypto projects have various ideas on how and what approach to take for further blockchain development. Hence, there are often disagreements in ideologies amongst developers of a cryptocurrency project leading to a chain split. For example, Bitcoin Cash (BCH) was forked from Bitcoin over a difference in alternative ideas about scaling the world’s leading crypto asset.
Blockchain forks are relatively easy given many cryptocurrencies are open-source projects, and their codebase is readily available to cryptocurrency developers and individual users.
Another reason for a chain split may be to actualize an improved digital asset, fix software bugs and execute a different and better-optimized cryptocurrency technology. This is most significantly seen with Litecoin (LTC), which was forked from the Bitcoin blockchain to utilize a different hashing algorithm and increase the total supply of coins. Other notable chain splits of a cryptocurrency network are Ethereum Classic (ETC), forked from the Ethereum blockchain (ETN) and DogeCoin (DOGE) from LiteCoin (LTC).