What is the Current Status of Previous Forks?
For those that have had a chance to view our first hard fork chronology article as well as the hard fork genesis article, you probably have a fairly decent understanding of how hard forks work, what measures are needed to implement them and when they usually occur.
For the most part, many hard forks are still currently in circulation. There are a few that are still waiting to gain the necessary momentum before launch and even some that have thrived amidst the chaos.
Ethereum Classic is technically a hard fork of Ethereum. However, its forking happened in a fairly unconventional manner.
Before Ethereum Classic existed, there was just one chain for Ethereum called ‘Ethereum’. The split occurred in 2016 after a fund built on Ethereum called the ‘DAO’ was hacked. The team had a choice between either accepting the hack and continuing forth, or implementing a ‘hard fork’ in order to ‘wipe’ the transaction and stop the hackers from getting away with the money.
However, there was a solid segment of the community that did not agree with this approach under the philosophy that the Ethereum blockchain should remain ‘immutable’. So, when Ethereum did commence with the hard fork to a different network, many were ‘left behind’ and because their chain possessed less hash power, they were not able to retain the name ‘Ethereum’.
Thus, Ethereum Classic was born.
One of the major reasons that Ethereum Classic is still used is due to the promotion efforts of Barry Silbert, whom apparently owns a significant stake of Ethereum Classic. He has a lot of influence in the cryptocurrency community in general, and he owns Digital Currency Group, which has invested a substantial amount of money into different areas of cryptocurrency.
Some theorize that Barry has merely used his influence to promote the token in order to “pump and dump”, an illegal scheme in which one artificially boosts the price of a security/stock by overexaggerating its potential returns/benefits in order to garner more investors and make more of a personal profit.
The main goal of Ethereum Classic was to preserve the philosophy of an ‘immutable’ blockchain. They believed that implementing a hard fork in order to restore the stolen funds from the DAO would undermine this principle entirely. So, by refusing to cooperate with the rest of the network, they wanted to take a stand for their principles. Essentially, one could consider Ethereum Classic to be an ongoing legacy of that fundamental protest.
In general, Ethereum Classic was received with mixed emotions from the community as it was split on the issue. There were plenty of members of the community that respected and commended those that refused to cooperate with the hard fork that Ethereum instituted to restore the funds to the individuals who had them hacked from the DAO.
However, there was a segment of the Ethereum community that did not feel favorably about the refusal of the Ethereum Classic community to cooperate with the wishes of the greater community.
Perhaps the most contentious fork in Bitcoin history is Bitcoin Cash. There are many different stories/legends/propaganda surrounding its release, so we’ll try to keep this as brief and factual as possible.
During 2017, the impending launch of SegWit (before August), had created a great deal of ire and resentment in the community overall among those that felt that the block size should be adjusted. This friction in the community led to the ‘New York Agreement’. This agreement, which would’ve been a hard fork to ‘SegWit2x’, was supposed to be a compromise between the two opposing sides of Bitcoin. The miners on the network agreed to cooperate with the SegWit implementation under the condition that the block size would at least be increased to 2 MB.
However, this did not happen. One reason is due to the fact that the Core team rejected the New York proposal. Also, two huge mining pools, ViaBTC and Bitmain, felt that it would be in their best interest to help propel the creation of a hard fork that would have the bigger block sizes already built within it and would not contain any SegWit implemtation.
Here is a press release from Bitmain on the hard fork.
Profits vs. Bitcoin
For miners, the profits between Bitcoin Cash and Bitcoin oscillate. At first, Bitcoin Cash was substantially more profitable due to a flaw in its Proof of Work difficulty-adjustment algorithm. However, that was changed in November 2017, and the profitability between the two cryptocurrencies are now largely negligible most of the time.
The Bitcoin Gold hard fork was initiated on October 10th, 2017 and occurred on October 24th, later that same month. Similar to all other Bitcoin hard forks, Bitcoin Gold was received by all those that held their Bitcoin in a private wallet and not an exchange.
The coin was deemed as ‘necessary’ by the community or developers responsible for creating it because it was modified to include an ASIC-resistant property that does not exist in Bitcoin. Essentially, the developers wanted to ensure that GPUs could once again be the predominant method for mining the coin rather than the complex, expensive and technologically advanced ASIC miners that had been developed formerly.
However, due to multiple issues between the miners and the developer as well as controversy surrounding the implementation of the hard fork itself, it has failed to garner any substantial traction in the Bitcoin community.
As mentioned under the Bitcoin Cash review, SegWit2x is the product of the New York Agreement that was inked in 2017 that never happened. The premise of the coin was to be a compromise between the Core community’s desires to implement SegWit and the ‘block-increaser’ desire to increase the size of the blocks that are mined for Bitcoin.
Thus, SesgWit2x was supposed to be a proposed ‘planned’ hard fork of Bitcoin that resulted in an increase of the block size from 1 MB to 2 MB while still allowing SegWit implementation.
Many, however, in the Bitcoin community were diametrically opposed to the premise of SegWit2x entirely because they felt that the meeting between the miners was ‘shady’ and more closely resembled a ‘backroom deal’ than an open-community arrangement of any sort.
This sentiment crippled support for the measure to the extent that it was never able to formally launch.
However, all was not for naught in this situation. In our previous article we theoretized on how the implementation of SegWit would not have occurred if it had not been for the proposition of the New York Agreement (see: https://howtotoken.com/explained/segwit-never-happen ).
Bitcoin ABC is informally known in the community as the node software for the Bitcoin Cash network. If you visit their main website, it makes its support of Bitcoin Cash very evident.
According to this website, Bitcoin ABC is, “…a full node implementation of the Bitcoin Cash protocol. With a future roadmap of massive scaling, Bitcoin ABC allows an immediate block size increase with a simple, sensible, adjustable blocksize cap.”
This is important to note because it means that the nodes essentially allow miners to mine blocks of varying sizes. See a screenshot from the site below:
Most Forked Blockchains
It should come as no surprise that the two of the most forked blockchains in the cryptocurrency sphere are also two of the oldest ones in existence; Ethereum and Bitcoin. Due to their vast user networks, name recognition, unique features and familiarity among those in the development community, both of these chains have remained a fan favorite among crypto-enthusiasts over the last year. As we explained in our Bitcoin Genesis article, many of the hard forks that you see today are a product of the idea that manifested from the dichotomy laden within the Bitcoin community circa 2015.
Known as the ‘godfather’ of all blockchain technology and the long-standing market leader among all cryptocurrencies since its inception, it is no surprise that Bitcoin is the most common choice for developers wishing to fork the protocol.
According to its press releases, Bitcoin Diamond is a hard fork of Bitcoin that was designed to address the inherent privacy issues laden within Bitcoin by implementing an innovative encryption process that is designed to mask the passage of transactions from one party (wallet) to another. This fork was released at the block height of 495,866, which occurred on November 24th, 2017. However, there have been massive criticisms of the Bitcoin Diamond concept, design and efficacy of their proposed offering. One of the biggest criticisms was the fact that the coin did not have any GitHub entries before launch. This claim, unfortunately, was not debunked, but the coin’s dev team did make sure to add in the necessary information within the repositories at a later date.
The coin is, however, on a substantial number of exchanges at this point and pretty easy to purchase. Currently, the coin is listed on: Binance, YoBit, Gate.io, and many others!
As you can see above, the price (USD) of the coin has depreciated substantially since its initial launch on November 24th, 2017. Given the fact that there are several other coins available currently that address the privacy issues that Bitcoin Diamond claims to address, there doesn’t seem to be a niche being fulfilled by the cryptocurrency that wasn’t being served previously by those alternatives (i.e., ZClassic or Monero).
The supply of Bitcoin Diamond coins stands at 210 million or a 10:1 Bitcoin Diamond to Bitcoin ratio. Since Bitcoin’s supply is fixed at approximately 21 million coins, Bitcoin Diamond’s ratio of 1:10 coins seems to be an effort to give investors a comparable number of coins in order to maintain this proportion between their supply and the legacy chain’s supply.
You might be tempted to shrug off this hard fork based on the name, ‘Super Bitcoin’. However, it does warrant some attention and a few of the ideas laden within this coin are of merit as well.
This hard fork was initiated at block height 498,888 of the Bitcoin protocol, which occurred on December 14th, 2017. This coin is currently available at; OKEx, gate.io, Huobi, Exx, YoBit, bibox, HitBTC, Aex, and bigone.
The prices and volume of trade vary substantially at the time of writing:
BTCC and F2Pool, two major mining pools for Bitcoin are the two major creators of Super Bitcoin. The ‘Super Bitcoin Foundation’ did pre-mine the currency, however.
● Lightning Network compatibility (whenever that releases)
● Bigger block sizes
● ‘Zero-Knowledge’ Proofs
The value laden within these technological innovations cannot be understated. SegWit and Lightning Network, which have both been praised ad nauseum by the Bitcoin community would no doubt be of great interest for those that value these projects on the legacy Bitcoin chain. In addition, for those that believe that increasing the block size is a viable method of increasing scalability, then this coin also provides a much welcome upgrade as well. As noted in our blockchain genesis article, there is a substantial portion of the community that feels that one of the best and most direct methods of scaling the Bitcoin protocol is via increased block sizes.
Out of all hard forks, this might be the one that has been received the best by the Bitcoin community and the crypto-community at large based on the lack of negative opinions that have been leveled toward this coin in specific. Below is just a brief excerpt of one of the main features of this coin:
What’s most notable about Bitcore is:
● The fact that it has a brand-new ASIC-resistant mining algorithm (Timetravel 10).
● The block sizes have been decreased by 75% (2.5 minutes) from the 10 minute block time that Bitcoin was forced to operate under.
● The block size has been increased from 1 MB to 10 MB.
● It still has SegWit enabled on the chain, which means that it can adopt the Lightning Network as well.
● In addition, it has implemented ‘Bloom filters’, which allow for compression of the chain so that it only takes up 200 MB of space instead of several GB like the other hard forks of Bitcoin. This may be one of the most major upgrades that this chain offers.
● The network estimates that it has the ability to handle approximately 17.6 billion transactions per year!
The innovative nature of this coin cannot be understated in any way.
The coin itself was created by the same individuals that were responsible for the Bitsend development team. It was created on April 28th and was released at block 463619. There are weekly airdrops that occur every Monday and the percentage of increase for the airdrop goes up by 1% for every month that transpires.
Perhaps one of the biggest innovations of the BitCore coin is that it found a way to appropriately ‘condense’ all of the TX, so that there is not as much stress on the network. In addition, its removal of the ASIC exploit that has given birth to the super miners in the Bitcoin industry currently, mitigates the issue of environmental harm if the coin were to ever achieve widespread adoption.
Bitcoin Minor Forks
While there have been a number of major forks that have occurred, there are also a substantial number of ‘minor’ forks that have occurred over the last year as well. These forks typically are initiated by much smaller teams and take up way less, if any, hasing power (PoW) from the network that the forks are related to.
● Bitcoin Oil (OBTC)
● Bitcoin Pizza (BPA)
● Bitcoin Smart (BCS)
● Quantum Bitcoin (QBTC)