There are hard forks, soft forks, and even user activated soft forks. Overall, remember that all of them are essentially different versions of the original Bitcoin blockchain.
As the Crypto news outlet Blockgeeks puts it, its not quite enough to know what these forks are, it is also essential to understand why people felt the need to bring them about in the first place.
For the purposes of clarity, we will stick to a brief overview of the most powerful Bitcoin forks here, but you can reasonably expect more in-depth pieces on the subject in the future.
First and foremost, there is Bitcoin Cash. Regardless of what its chief proponents say, it is at its core, a Bitcoin fork.
Bitcoin Cash sprung from the debate on what the block size should be for the main Bitcoin chain. Furthermore, Bitcoin Cash supporters did not see SegWit as a legitimate upgrade for the scaling capabilities of the Bitcoin network.
Remember that SegWit was a technical solution that was suggested by the famed Bitcoin developer, Pieter Wiulle, who said that it would increase how many transactions Bitcoin blocks could hold, by changing how transaction data was put onto the Bitcoin chain.
A big debate ensued in which many Bitcoin stakeholders basically concluded that SegWit was only a short term fix to scaling issues, which prompted the introduction of SegWit 2x in 2017, that had the aim of addressing this supposed problem.
Overall, those who would eventually become participants in the Bitcoin Cash chain continued to disagree until Bitcoin hard forked, with the original chain keeping a block size of around 1 megabyte, which was in line with Satoshi Nakamoto’s original vision for the network. Here, by hard fork, we mean a change to the network’s blockchain that changes the way transactions are validated, causing all users to need to update their versions of the chain.
Because some users refused to, Bitcoin Cash was born. In addition to this, it also came from the apparent need for much larger blocks and today, it is almost the same as Bitcoin, except that it has not enjoyed any major updates like SegWit and SegWit 2x, and it has blocks that reach up to 32 megabytes in size.
We mentioned Bitcoin Cash first, because it is, by far, the most successful Bitcoin fork, arguably chiefly due to the ardent support of people like Roger Ver, who was one of the industry’s pioneers in terms of investing.
Even so, based on financially measured market dominance, Bitcoin Cash is still far behind Bitcoin, in terms of success.
Beyond Bitcoin Cash are several more forks, ranging from Bitcoin Diamond to Bitcoin Private to just about any variation of the name that you can think of. To sum up the histories of all of these forks, simply based on technical success put together with legitimate publicity, none have shown a true chance at becoming a leader in the space.
When all of them are considered, Bitcoin Gold is the most successful based on financial indicators. For now, it holds the number 26 spot on Coinmarketcap. As to what makes it different, by all appearances, Bitcoin Gold is the same as Bitcoin except for one or two possible differentiators. First, it aims to be more secure and more decentralized by running on the Equihash algorithm, which you may know of because of it also running the Zcash network. Second, it has lofty future goals which include running a DEX(decentralized exchange), as well as allowing for side chains, which is a capability that Bitcoin is not currently the leader in.
Despite all of this, given that Bitcoin controls over 50% of the market as of this week, no fork is even close to being on its level. On the other hand, it does not hurt to understand this phenomenon of forking, so that you can make more informed choices with your Crypto investment opportunities in the future.
By: BGN Editorial Staff