Room for New Bitcoins! A Short Guide to Bitcoin Forks

This is a guest post about Bitcoin Forks written by Mary Ann Callahan. Mary Ann Callahan is a journalist at Cex.io – cryptocurrency exchange. She is working on articles related to blockchain security, bitcoin purchase guides or bitcoin regulations in different countries.

Bitcoin has been long established and has stood the test of time thus far, luring more investors to buy Bitcoin and hold it for the higher return. But with its slow confirmation times and awkward transactions, many cryptocurrency users have sought solutions elsewhere. Some have moved onto other crypto tokens and alleviated the blockchain problems altogether, while diehard Bitcoin enthusiasts have sought to answer the questions by providing solutions on the original blockchain.

This guide gets to grips with Bitcoin forks, explaining why they happen and what happens when they happen. It looks at Bitcoin Cash and gives an in-depth analysis of whether Bitcoin or any of its offsprings are the tokens you should be using for transacting on blockchain.

Bitcoin Blockchain

The Bitcoin blockchain works in a simple and secure way, this is one of its key strengths in the crypto marketplace. It is however very slow compared to other chains and even compared to Bitcoin Cash. This is its major weakness.

The Bitcoin blockchain is the framework that the entire Bitcoin network relies on. Working as a public ledger for all Bitcoin transactions, this chain dictates where a Bitcoin is at any given time, keeping an up-to-date record in relative real time.

When a user pays another user, the chain grows by adding a block. The issue with speed comes down to the fact that the Blockchain is incredibly slow at generating the new blocks. It typically takes around 10 minutes to generate a block. It can be even slower if the transaction is complex. In a world of instant transacting across other currencies, many users consider this unacceptable.

Bitcoin Forks

Many major cryptos have had forks on their ledgers. Forks occur when a portion of the user base feel that there is a smarter or better way to utilize the existing blockchain technology and they break away from the original structure, creating an entirely new chain and token in the process.

As mentioned, many tokens have experienced this. It is not a Bitcoin-specific problem. If a crypto token has been on the market for a long time, it is likely over that period of time that niggling issues will crop up and worsen the overall user experience. When this happens, users have the option to continue using the token in its current form or break away and use a newer version of the token on a split from the existing chain.

Bitcoin has had many forks along the way. Only one has really gained any real traction, Bitcoin Cash.

List of Bitcoin Forks so Far

Below is a list of some of the Bitcoin forks and their current status, divided into two groups: Main Forks and Everything Thereafter.

Main Forks

  • Bitcoin Cash. Bitcoin Cash forked at block 478558 on 1 August 2017. The aim of Bitcoin Cash was to increase the speed of transactions on blockchain and improve overall security when transacting on the Bitcoin network. Every existing user of Bitcoin received Bitcoin Cash to encourage Bitcoin users to move away from the original token. Currently, Bitcoin Cash enjoys a relatively good level of success, although many of the users that received Bitcoin Cash have since sold the token, which has led to a steep drop in value after a moderately successful start.
  • Forked at the same time as Bitcoin Cash and joined the Ethereum and Bitcoin blockchains. For every Bitcoin token, users received 20 Bytether tokens. This hasn’t been a very successful fork, especially in comparison to Bitcoin Cash, although the idea of joining the two major blockchains is, in theory, a good one.
  • Bitcoin Clashic. Again, forked at the same time as Bitcoin Cash. Not at all successful and a rather obscure fork on the Bitcoin blockchain.
  • Bitcoin Gold. Bitcoin Gold forked at block 491497 on 24 October 2017. For every Bitcoin, a user received one Bitcoin Gold. This fork generated little interest and has had no real success either.
  • Bitcoin Diamond. In a similar vain to the Bitcoin Gold fork, users received 10 Bitcoin Diamond tokens in return for 1 Bitcoin. The aim of Diamond was to create a meaningful fork by rewarding users with a higher amount of the Diamond currency, something that might have seen a bit more success for Bitcoin Gold. This forked at block 495866 on 24 November 2017, and like Bitcoin Gold had limited success.

Everything Thereafter

  • Following the two previous disastrous forks (Bitcoin Gold and Bitcoin Diamond), there was a flurry of forking on 12 December 2017. All of which were dismal, to say the least. The forks on this date were United Bitcoin, Bitcoin Hot, Super Bitcoin, Bitcoin X and Oil Bitcoin.
  • Since December 2017, there have been a vast number of forks. Some generating a little interest, but none really catching on like Bitcoin Cash. Forks on the Bitcoin blockchain now tend to be a way of trying to cash in rather than make any marked difference. The likes of Bitcoin World, Lightning Bitcoin, Bitcoin Stake, BitEthereum, Bitcoin Top, Bitcoin God, Bitcoin FILE, Bitcoin Segwit2X X11, Bitcoin Uranium, Bitcoin Pizza, Bitcoin All have all come and go without so much as making a ripple in the overall Bitcoin network.

Bitcoin Forks are ongoing now on blockchain, with users looking to exploit other options of making money. None of the Bitcoin Forks so far has been as successful as Bitcoin Cash.

Bitcoin Cash

Bitcoin Cash has been the sole fork that has paid off in any meaningful way and continues to trade well. It claims to have the most secure transactions of any blockchain technology and a significantly improved transaction speed over the slow Bitcoin blockchain.

The cryptocommunity uses Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash on a regular basis and they are also available on most crypto exchanges.

The Top 5 rated crypto exchanges on Cryptowisser (this is the full list of the 250+ exchanges) where you can trade Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash at the date of this article are the following:

  1. Changelly
  2. KuCoin
  3. BitMEX
  4. Binance
  5. CEX.io

If you’re considering Bitcoin as an investment, it may be worth reading deeper into Bitcoin Cash as well and seeing which one fits your needs more.

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