On September 17, the blockchain network known as Ethereum Classic will go through an event known as a "hard fork." What this means for digital currency traders is that their Ether token transactions, including mining operations, will become more efficient, but they may not notice any differences.

Unlike previous Bitcoin hard forks that resulted in newly minted tokens, similar to a stock split on Wall Street, this will not be the case with this Ethereum Classic event. This hard fork, which is known as Atlantis, is a technical upgrade to the blockchain, and it may be followed by another improvement later this year. In essence, Atlantis aims to improve network connections with the original Ethereum blockchain.

It should be noted that Ethereum Classic, despite what its name may suggest, is not the original blockchain supporting the Ether digital currency token; in fact, it was created by a hard fork in 2016. The reason for the network split was controversial: It was prompted by the theft of several Ether tokens as well as by a disagreement on how the stolen tokens should have been refunded.

Being able to seamlessly connect with the original Ethereum blockchain will be a major improvement for developers of apps such as digital currency wallets. With regard to market value, there may be a slight boost to Ethereum Classic tokens, but this digital currency still has a long way to go before it can catch up to the original Ether token. Nonetheless, Ethereum Classic ranks among the top 20 cryptocurrencies in terms of market value.

It remains to be seen whether Ether or its Classic competitor will ever become serious candidates for widespread circulation. To this effect, Ripple and Bitcoin have a clear advantage, and Facebook's upcoming Libra digital currency project seems poised to become a leader in this regard.