Comment: No, they don't need a

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No, they don't need a

No, they don't need a hardfork for Bitcoin to implement the features of competitors. The reason people were talking about a hardfork, was because some BTC devs (namely Mike Hearn) wanted to discuss coin tainting (the ability to distinguish between good and bad coins), which would have underrmined BTC's fungibility. Mike Hearn seems to be pro government and wanted to make it easier for the government to detect evil doers. The BTC community was in an uproar and threatened to hardfork the code if they ever decided to do that without their consent.

There was a group that said, screw the government and wanted to implement zercoin's features within the BTC code. Gavin and most BTC devs disagree, cause they needed to sell BTC to the US government (and other governments), so trying to implement zerocoin's features right now would be a bad idea.

Hardorks only exist when there's a vast disagreement between the bitcoin users on which way is the best way to go. One group would go with one fork, the other with the second fork.

Zerocoin devs eventually decided it would be better to bring it out as an altcoin, because it would be more easy to test the concept in the wild as an altcoin, with less risk to BTC. If it would eventually prove succesful, its code could still be brought into the bitcoin code without causing a hardfork. This is better, because I do admit that Bitcoin's pseudonomity has some advantages as well. Its transparency can be a shackle on people with too much power.

If the government ever abuses its power, the devs will have a good reason to implement zerocoin's features. It's basically like a sword of Damocles hanging over the government's heads: You better not pull that crap you pulled on us like you've done with the NSA, otherwise you'll give us an excuse to implement zerocoin's features and we'll have public consent to do so. Beware.