What is Ethereum Classic?
Ethereum Classic is the original version of the Ethereum blockchain with ETC as its native token. Ethereum (ETH), the more popular of the two, is the second blockchain that came about after a hard fork of the network. Before this, both versions shared the same blockchain.
Not to be confused with Ethereum, Ethereum Classic functions independently. The network exists to preserve the principle of ‘Code is Law’, a form of regulation where technology is used to enforce existing rules. It is an open-source, decentralised, blockchain-based cryptocurrency platform that has the capability to run smart contracts similar to Ethereum.
If they’re so similar, why are they separate?
The Ethereum blockchain first existed as just one network but in 2016 ‘The DAO’, a decentralised autonomous organisation and venture capital fund that was launched on the Ethereum blockchain was hacked due to vulnerabilities in its codebase.
Around $50 million worth of funds were stolen and in order to secure the network following this attack, a hard fork was initiated to reverse the hack. While the fork was supported by Vitalik Buterin, co-founder of Ethereum, purists in the community wanted the chain to remain as it was, which led to the name of Ethereum Classic.
Since the split, developers continue to upgrade and improve Ethereum Classic with the goal of working towards becoming a global payment network using smart contracts that can function without the need for centralised governance.