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Examples Of Bitcoin Forks And Historical Reasons They Occurred

08:45 15/10/2018

History of Bitcoin forks


Bitcoin was introduced to society about ten years ago, and since then it has been incessantly developing. Many developers are trying to resolve vital problems of the BTC environment, and their opinions are often in conflict. This happens because people assess the benefits of decentralized cryptocurrencies in different ways. Some of them prefer full anonymity and privacy. Others single out rapid transactions. Yet others like the idea of creating distributed applications with ease. Naturally, these requirements may contradict.


When a development team decides to implement its own upgrade, it might want to attract the community members and gain more popularity among them. With growth of proponents, their ideas get stronger and clearer. Finally, they either gain a lot of influence among the whole community, or decide to fork to become independent.


Some massive data


Unlike the number of forks, it is much more difficult to calculate the total amount of all cryptocurrencies that appeared after Bitcoin in recent years. The main reason here is the publicity of the technology and very fast interest changes. Today we might see announcements about newly-proposed features. In a week, this project might be buried in criticism. In a month, the creators might make significant changes. And years later, no one will even remember what was the initial idea of the solution.


Many projects were published and then disappeared after losing their popularity. According to the map of coins, Bitcoin had got several hundreds of projects by the 2015. Here, we include all branches with intermediate, final, direct and indirect solutions. About half of them are inactive today.


More about famous forks


So-called Bitcoin forks are a frequent phenomenon. Some of them were deliberate, others were provoked by mistake. Let's have a look at several notable examples.


Bitcoin XT


The fork was proposed by Mike Hearn in December 2014. It was intended to activate such solutions as BIP 64. Its final goal was to increase the transactions rate up to 24 per second with the average block size of 8 mb. However, the project failed soon. As of 2016, only a few supporting nodes remained active.


Bitcoin Classic


The Bitcoin Classic fork took place in February, 2016. It is one of the most famous solutions implemented to the original Bitcoin blockchain. It was aimed at increasing a block size. Unfortunately, it was not successful. In November 2017, the project was closed.


Bitcoin Unlimited


This is the other project aimed to increase a block size. The final decision on the block size was made by miners. All participants could set a cap limit of an acceptable size. The project had significant support until February 2018. Unfortunately, the number of nodes has dropped to 100, and keeps falling. As of October 2018, it has reached 30 units.


SegWit implementation


This is the fork that doesn’t create a new currency but expands the functionality of existing Bitcoin nodes with slight changes in the protocol. It is intended to handle the scalability problem and fight transaction malleability. The SegWit implementation has allowed to activate the Lightning Network which significantly increased the speed of transactions per second.


Bitcoin Cash and Bitcoin Gold


These are two solutions that were developed to apply different changes into the basic protocol. Bitcoin Cash proposed 8 Mb blocks, no SegWit, and the Emergency Difficulty Adjustment mechanism. Bitcoin Gold proposed a new mining algorithm and the new Difficulty Adjustment Algorithm, whose rate is estimated after each new block is closed. As of October 2018, both projects are still active.




The history of Bitcoin forks is rich and interesting, many hours can be devoted to study it. However, Bitcoin is not the only network that deals with forks. For such crypto platforms as Ripple, Litecoin, or Ethereum, forking is considered to be a natural and frequent event as well. We will discuss them in our next articles.

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