I have been covering Chia Forks since the first couple launched, Flax and ChainGreen. It has been an interesting journey, with a wide spectrum of folks launching their own coins based on Chia Network’s code. Some of them, like Flax, did not monkey with consensus or make any changes, and some did.
At one point there were more than 50 forks known to be in development or released. There are many discord channels dedicated to the Chia Fork ecosystem, there are tools built, there is community. There are entire exchanges dedicated only to trading Chia Forks. Chia has become a microcosm ecosystem like Bitcoin and Ethereum, all within a few short months.
But what does it mean? And will it go anywhere? I think as an ecosystem, no, it won’t. Not the way it is with a community farming 30+ different Chia forks. There are costs to operating the infrastructure necessary for the Proof of Space and Time blockchain to run. You need nodes, timelords, introducers, tech support and a lot of development time. Already the cream is rising from the chaff, with the forks who are able to develop solutions to the changing Chia landscape rising above those that can’t.
There are a lot of discussions “ranking” the forks in terms of viability, and a lot that comes down to both accessibility to the community from the developers and perceived development talent. Flax has been consistently good since launch and has become the defacto “leader” of the Chia Forks. Flaxseed is a very competent developer and hasn’t created any issues and has been solving issues for the community well. Flora has also risen well due to the visibility of having developed the NFT pool reward retrieval tool that the rest of the forks (except Flax, who has their own solution) are using.
Chives has also gotten a lot of attention recently because they aren’t a straight Chia fork and are trying something new. They do not allow for cross-farming with Chia and are using K29 – K31 plots instead of the K32+ sizes required by the Chia Network. This has led to some interest among prominent folks in the Chia ecosystem. nChain is another one that has gotten a lot of attention, and has even started trading on a general cryptocurrency exchange without a disaster plunge. I have never even installed it so I can’t speak to how well it is doing technically but they do seem to have a lot of community support. I will probably check it out the next time I revamp my setup.
Rounding out the list of forks I am personally farming is HDDCoin. I actually don’t know if there anything technically different about them. They seem to be mostly competent enough and know what they are doing but I think the biggest difference is that their development team is very active in the Chia Fork community. They even seemingly made a mistake with the SSL CA root on launch (not uncommon with the forks), but have since fixed that and communicated the fix well. They have always been responsive to me and have a pretty good finger on the pulse for what is going on with the forks. Like a pool, a good developer relationship is critical to building trust with potential users.
I think that soon we are going to have to stop considering the Chia Forks as an ecosystem. There is very little shared by Spare Coin and Flax other than some code they started from. I also think that they will all be forking from Flax once the promised pooling fix is released, but I doubt we start calling them all “Flax Forks”. I think that in the next 6 months they will just be coins, like any other. As general cryptocurrency exchanges solve the technical challenges around getting Chia working with their infrastructure it will open up to all the forks based on Chia. Nobody refers to Dogecoin, Litecoin, BicoinCash etc as “the Bitcoin forks” as if they share a complete community and userbase. They are separate things, and soon Chives will just be Chives.
In the meantime I don’t expect any of them to be really worth anything at all for many years, if ever. As we saw with the SpareCoin exchange launch there is no appetite for random Chia fork coins in the wider crypto market. And I hope that the people putting time and energy into farming them understand that. Chia Network has a vision for why their coin is worth money. Until the forks provide that same vision, to the wider market, they will not share the same value.