There used to be only one Bitcoin, but that’s not true anymore. The number one cryptocurrency since 2011 has been challenged several times during its massive adoption. There are different views on the future of Bitcoin. Because of that the community created a fork – a new Bitcoin with new features. But only you can choose which projects to trust and support with your invested money. We’ve created a full list of the upcoming Bitcoin forks so that you can learn about the many alternative directions that Bitcoin might take.

Bitcoin forks explained

Bitcoin (BTC) has been the most popular cryptocurrency as of yet. But it is far from perfect. As the cryptocurrency market becomes ever more mainstream it faces challenges related to both the tech and the community surrounding it. The Bitcoin block limit is one megabyte in size (around 3 transactions per second) so the transactions have been taking a long time to process.  Moreover, costs have been rising. Because of the reasons above, BTC is not used for regular payments anymore . The Bitcoin community has different views on solving these problems. As an open-source project, Bitcoin offers a peaceful way of dealing with disagreement – forking.

What is a Bitcoin fork?

Bitcoin forks represent changes to the Bitcoin protocol.

A soft fork is a change that is backward compatible, the new rules can be inter-operable with the legacy protocol. These forks require consensus to be approved, which means that the majority of the network’s participants (miners, wallet providers, exchanges) have to agree with the changes.

If consensus cannot be met, then the network will split into two and we call it a hard fork. It is a change to the protocol that does not have backward compatibility. A hard fork is a permanent split, both networks have a different rule set.

The Bitcoin blockchain is not the only one that can be forked. We have seen a hard fork of Ethereum in March 2017. The Ethereum blockchain literally split into two: Ethereum (ETH) and Ethereum Classic (ETC).

Upcoming Bitcoin Forks

The following Bitcoin forks have been announced. Be aware that not all of them have been confirmed as legit. We will update the list as more occur. So far, this is your guide to Bitcoin forks in 2017 – 2018.

Super Bitcoin (SBTC)

Super Bitcoin is a fork whose primary new features include smart contracts (like Ethereum), Lightning Network, zero-knowledge proofs and bigger blocks.

  • Expected date: 12 December 2017
  • Will be forked in Block: 498888
  • Website

Bitcoin Platinum (BTP)

Bitcoin Platinum is a fork aiming at greater decentralization with a block size of 2MB, difficulty adjustment in every block. It uses the Equihash algorithm instead of SHA256. Rumored to be fake.

  • Expected date: around 12 December 2017
  • Will be forked in Block: 497757 / 498533
  • Website

Bitcoin Cash Plus (BCP)

BCP fulfills the original purpose of Bitcoin as peer-to-peer electronic cash. Low fees, adoption with on-chain scaling (8MB block size limit), and emergency difficulty adjustments.

  • Expected date: 2. January 2018
  • Will be forked in Block: 501407
  • Website

Bitcoin Silver

Bitcoin Silver implements a new PoW algorithm, Equihash, that makes mining decentralized again.

Bitcoin Uranium (BUM)

Bitcoin Uranium wants to make Bitcoin great again with a new proof-of-work algorithm, Equihash, to allow GPU/CPU mining while not tolerating specialized ASIC chips. It features a 1-minute block time and anonymous addresses.

  • Expected date: 31 December 2017
  • Will be forked in block: unknown
  • Website

Bitcoin God (GOD)

Chinese Bitcoin and Blockchain Angel Investor Chandler Guo has announced he will release his own Bitcoin hard fork.

  • Expected date: 25 December 2017
  • Will be forked in block: unknown
  • Website

Are Bitcoin forks real?

It’s very hard to tell how many of these projects are serious. Some Bitcoin forks can sound like a joke (Bitcoin Uranium with its “BUM” ticket), but others might be real. Super Bitcoin seems to have the biggest potential due to smart contracts.

Most of the upcoming bitcoin forks involve the combination of larger blocks and different mining algorithms. They either compete with the original Bitcoin (BTC) or Bitcoin Cash (BCH), a bitcoin fork from August 2017. We have seen Bitcoin Cash soar and crash within a few weeks and investors both made and lost their money. For an investor, it is not easy to decide which cryptocurrency coming from a fork will be successful.

The fact that Bitcoin Cash is relatively successful doesn’t necessarily mean that other forks will be. You should always wait for a confirmation from some major wallet or exchange that the new coin is live and stable. Be aware that there are people creating fake wallets, purchasing ghostwritten predictions and fake news. Trust is everything on the Internet.

Bitcoin forks that already happened

See the list of bitcoin forks which already happened.

Bitcoin Cash (BCH or BCC) – August 2017 – Website – Bitcoin Cash fulfills the original promise of Bitcoin as “peer-to-peer electronic cash”. Merchants and users are empowered with low fees and reliable confirmations.

Bitcoin Diamond (BCD) – November 2017 – Website – Bitcoin Diamond claims faster transactions, better privacy and lower costs.

Bitcoin Gold (BTG) – December 2017 – Website – Bitcoin Gold is a hard fork that allows you to mine Bitcoin with GPUs. BTG implements a new Proof of Work algorithm, Equihash, that makes mining decentralized again.

Free money with each fork?

Each new Bitcoin fork credits owners of bitcoins with the same amount cryptocurrency as the time that the fork happens. Which means that if you already have, say, 1 bitcoin and there is a new fork called “XYZ”, you will be credited 1 unit of “XYZ”.

Some people think it means they will get free money, but that doesn’t paint the whole picture. With each hard fork the network divides into two blockchains. If the amount of currencies used doubles while the number of users stays the same, the price of the original currency falls, all things being equal. That’s math. When the fork happens there won’t suddenly be more users of the network, so the value of the old currency (bitcoin) is decreased by the value the new one (forked bitcoin) to an extent.

It is however not that easy with forks. As we have seen before, people behave differently. They start buying cryptocurrency before the fork just to benefit from the fork. They see it as a dividend. There are therefore many price speculators – both traders and miners. The other issue is that the cryptocurrency market and Bitcoin capitalization is very small. No doubt whale investors (big money movers) take advantage of their ability to move the price up and down.

Conclusion

As an investor, you should always investigate the true reasons for why a fork is taking place. After understanding the who, the  what and the why you can decide whether or not you support the fork with your money.

Bitcoin is an open-source protocol and anyone can fork the network. The upcoming Super Bitcoin or Bitcoin Cash Plus are not the last ones, it’s almost certain that we will see even more forks coming in 2018. The free market (including you and other smaller or bigger traders) will decide to embrace the new blockchain or the old one. The price will always reflect that.

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