A Bitcoin Hard Fork that creates 2 healthy but incompatible bitcoin networks from the original blockchain would be devastating.
Soft Fork. Somebody writes an update to Bitcoin’s code. You can use it, or the old one and both will be perpetually compatible with each other.
Hard Fork. This is where the new software update is incompatible with current software. Thereby a new Bitcoin network is created and if you don’t update your software, you won’t be able to use the new network. You need to chose a side. In the case of BitcoinXT the hard fork would happen on New Years 2015. If a hard fork occurs with XT on New Years (it requires 75% acceptance to happen) 2 networks will be created: original Bitcoin and BitcoinXT.
When news of BitcoinXT hit the Bitcoin mainstream, it was understandably criticized and very few people adopted it. Still now, almost no one is interested in it. Mainly because even if it were technologically superior, which hasn’t been proven, it would create 2 bitcoin networks. 1 network using the new code and >75% popular support. Another network using the old code and a highly vocal <25% who would call themselves the original Bitcoin. Surely at that point outsiders wouldn’t see much more value in a Bitcoin than a BitcoinXT, Litecoin, Peercoin, Dash or anything else.
Bip100, a more popular Hard Fork, would create a new network on Dec 11 2015.
Bitcoin is king because it was first, not because it is best. You muddle the definition of first, you kill Bitcoin.
But that doesn’t mean a hard fork is impossible, it just needs to be done with brutal care. Either you bring absolutely everyone onboard (impossible), or kill the old network somehow when you split. . .Look at it this way. Suppose I create a robot that looks just like me. I also discover a way to convert my mind into digital software (I tried this last week). If I make a copy of my mind and put it into the robot you’d basically see Remi and a robot copy of Remi. Right? 2 entities. No question about the robot being just a copycat….BUT! Suppose in the process of transferring my mind into the robot, I die. You’d be more likely to believe that the “real” Remi had lived on. Similarly the “real” Bitcoin must always be clear. If/when Hard Forks occur, nothing can be left behind. If there is a remaining network of enthusiasts running the original code, thats it, Bitcoin as the dominant crypto is over.