Bitcoin has been "forked" more than 100 times in two years, now how about those forks

In the open source community, bifurcation means “copying and modifying” is one of the ways to expand the influence of open source software. In the blockchain world, forks often mean hope and destruction coexist. In the history of Bitcoin, the fork brings a new technical solution. The BCH of the large block plan and the BSV that pursues "Zhong Ben Cong's fundamentalism" are all produced by the fork.

But at the same time, the fork is also widely considered to be a split of the "consensus." In a currency circle where the consensus is greater than everything, the fork will often bring the price of the currency to plummet.

Even in the hands of a part of the ghosts, the forks have become a tool for harvesting leeks and seeking personal gain. Some meaningless forks have long been zero.

What does the fork mean for Bitcoin? In the future, where will the numerous forked coins go?

01 parting ways

In the history of Bitcoin, the historical status of the 478,558 block is unusual.

Starting from block 478558, a new fork chain, BCH (Bitcoin Cash), was born. Since then, the emerging BCH and the original chain BTC have completely separated.

The first fork coin in the history of Bitcoin was born.

This hard fork was initiated by bitcoin development team Bitcoin Unlimited (BU). The supporters behind BU are the world's largest miner, Bitland.

In the bitcoin world, the large miners group represented by Bitland has monopolized most of the computing power. The development team Bitcoin Core controls the update rights of the Bitcoin code. The two sides launched a round of war of words around the topic of whether Bitcoin needs to be expanded.

The miners' group supports expansion plans for their own interests. Bitcoin Core chose another upgrade solution beyond the expansion – lightning network.

And most of the bitcoin enthusiasts are somewhere in between – they support expansion, and do not reject the lightning network, but they are afraid of the hard fork that may split the bitcoin consensus.

But the hard fork of Bitcoin eventually inevitably happened. Wu Jihan, a bit of mainland China, is regarded as the “behind the scenes” of bitcoin forks, and therefore bears the nickname.

"Wu Jihan is very ambitious. He always wants to transform the blockchain world with his own will." Zhang Heng, a researcher in the blockchain industry, said, "He may be right or wrong, but his will. Must not represent everyone."

This time, the forked, created a digital currency with a market value ranking fourth. This obviously makes Wu Jihan feel encouraged. However, one year after the birth of BCH, Wu Jihan realized the pain brought by the fork.

On November 16, 2018, the Australian businessman CW (Craig Wright), who was self-employed by Nakamoto, launched a forklift action against BCH. A BCH fork chain named BSV (Bitcoin Satoshi Vision) was born. In the view of CSW, this chain means "Zhong Ben Cong's vision".

Similar to BCH's bifurcation from BTC in the past, BCH's fork also represented the route of Wu Jihan and CSW's two factions in the BCH camp: Wu Jihan advocated gradual improvement; and CW called for radical revolution – Directly adopt the 128M oversized block and "lock up" the client in version 0.1 of Nakamoto.

Wu Jihan and CSW quickly set off a long-lasting battle. CSW's personality is publicized, and there are countless people in the currency circle. It is also soft to Wu Jihan. The gentle and elegant Wu Jihan, on Twitter, was also merciless on Twitter. When he mentioned CSW, he repeatedly spit out dirty words.

When BCH was born, the currency market was still in a bull market. The panic caused by the fork was quickly overwhelmed by the bullish enthusiasm. When the BSV was separated, the currency circle was in a bear market. In a month, the BCH currency price was 552 US dollars before the fork, and all the way to the 74 US dollars, fell 83%. Even after accounting for the BSV generated after the fork, investors still suffer heavy losses.

“In the Bitcoin circle, well-known forked coins, mostly represent different technical routes.” Zhang Heng pointed out, “But for other currencies, the fork may be more meaning the concept is not the same.”

In 2016, the well-known ICO project “The DAO” on the Ethereum platform was hacked, and ETHs with a price of more than 60 million US dollars were stolen. The Ethereum community therefore decided to roll back the transaction in a hard-forward manner to recover the stolen losses of investors.

However, some members of the Ethereum community believe that the rollback transaction does not conform to the basic principles of the blockchain world, and investors should be at their own risk. They adhered to the original chain of Ethereum, and this original chain was later called "Ether Classic (ETC)".

The same thing happened to Monroe. In April 2018, the Monroe community modified its PoW mining algorithm in a hard forked manner in order to resist the ASIC mining machine. However, some Monroe fans do not exclude ASIC mining machines. Many projects, including the Monroe Classic (XMC), retain the original chain of Monroe coins and have been maintained to this day.

"In relying on the 'consensus' to maintain the currency of the faith, the fork can survive if it gets a 'consensus'." Zhang Heng said, "In the end, the market will test every fork project and decide where they will go."

For projects such as Bitcoin and Ethereum, the fork may bring new hope for change, or it may retain the most primitive fire. But beyond that, there are also many ambitious homes who have played a forked abacus, intending to slash the sickle of harvesting leeks in the name of the fork.

02 chaos

“The term 'Fork' is a common term in the open source community, meaning 'copying and modifying'.” Blockchain development engineer Sun Wenzhao expressed a blockchain.

Since its inception ten years ago, Bitcoin has long been one of the largest open source projects in the world. Therefore, everyone can get its source code and "create" different versions of Bitcoin by "forking".

Since August 1, 2017, BCH has become the first hard-forked project in the history of Bitcoin, and the behavior of forked bitcoin has emerged endlessly. According to statistics, in December of 2018, more than 10 bitcoin fork projects were born.

As of now, only one currency of Bitcoin, the number of categorical fork items has reached 105. Among them, there are 45 bitcoin forks that can still be traded.

45 bitcoin forks still tradable, source: forkdrop.io

In the 105 bitcoin fork project, some projects only add some simple vocabulary suffixes after the word bitcoin, such as Bitcoin Pizza, Bitcoin Boy, Bitcoin Hot ( Bitcoin Hot) and so on.

"These projects can neither be traded nor actually applied. The actions of the project side are no different from the cybersquatting domain name." Sun Wentao said.

As of now, the price of most bitcoin forks has been close to zero. In terms of market capitalization, in addition to BCH and BSV, the top ranked bitcoin forks are Bit Gold (BTG) and Bitcoin Diamond (BTD).

Taking BTD as an example, CoinMarketCap data shows that the current price of BTD is 0.92 US dollars, which is 98.92% lower than the highest point of 85.27 US dollars.

"At least in the currency price, the bitcoin forked army is close to the whole army." Sun Wenzhao said.

BTD price curve, data source: CoinMarketCap

In addition to the crazy fork bitcoin, these forked forces have also created a new concept: IFO.

IFO is the abbreviation of "Initial Fork Offering" – the team that launched the IFO will issue new currencies in the form of mainstream currencies such as forked bitcoin.

Take the BTG of the IFO project that has caused a lot of controversy as an example. As with most bitcoin forks, the number of BTCs held by investors before the project goes live can get the same amount of BTG after the fork. However, in the eyes of many currency investors, BTG has become a typical case of the project party harvesting amaranth by the name of IFO.

The most embarrassing problem for BTG is the “pre-drilling”. Before the BTG went online, the project side had already dug up 100,000 BTGs in advance – which means that once the forks begin, the project side can sell BTG and harvest the leeks.

The BTG official claimed that the biggest highlight of the project was the resistance to ASIC mining. Therefore, all Bitcoin-specific ASIC miners on the market have all failed on the BTG. Most of the BTG miners use the graphics card mining machine to mine.

However, the resistance to ASIC eventually caused BTG to die. In May 2018, BTG suffered 51% of attacks, and more than 380,000 BTGs were stolen by hackers. According to the current currency price, hackers made more than 120 million yuan.

Today, even the BTG project itself has given up on this project. At the end of 2018, BTG promoter Liao Xiang claimed that he would clear BTG in one month, replace it with Bitcoin, and “deliver the bit gold to the community completely”.

"Even if the coin is thrown and the leeks are cut, they are so 'clear and fresh'." One investor sneered.

Today, BTG prices have fallen by 96.67% compared to historical highs.

At the end of 2017, IFO was once popular in the currency circle, and many “coin circles” did not miss this “feast”. However, to this day, these forked coins have long been a local feather.

In December 2017, a forked coin project called Super Bitcoin (SBTC) was born. It emulated BTG's pre-mining mechanism and pre-excavated 210,000 SBTCs. The official website of the project shows that the “Foundation Chairman” of SBTC is Li Xiaolai.

Another once-popular bitcoin forked coin "Lightning Bitcoin (LBTC)" is dominated by "point payers". Today, the domestic team of the project has long been dissolved.

Compared with the highest point, SBTC and LBTC fell by 99.28% and 99.52% respectively. The farce that once smashed has come to an end.

03 controversy

Despite the chaos in the field of IFO and forked coins, there are still some investors who believe that in the blockchain industry, forks are normal.

"In the open source community, forks are very common." Sun Wentao said, "Most blockchain projects are also part of the open source community. Allowing anyone to freely fork, also represents the open, free spirit of the open source community. ”

In his view, blockchain projects operating in an open source community model, disputes between community members, are normal. The meaning of the fork is to give each solution a chance to try. "Only by constantly trying to make mistakes, will the best programs stand out." Sun Wentao said.

Knowing the netizen "sky" thinks that from another perspective, the fork is also one of the ways in which the blockchain system evolves.

He uses WeChat as an example – if every company can "fork" WeChat, develop various functions in the WeChat friend system, and leave it to the user to choose the survival of the fittest, we may get a more powerful "New WeChat" ".

Beyond this, the hard fork also allows many blockchain projects to retain their own “fire”. “Whether the original chain is abandoned by most people, or the original chain goes astray for various reasons, it is retained by hard forks. The other chain can be preserved and even re-emerged one day." Sun Wentao said.

"If the reason for the fork is that the target is different, then it should be forked, so that the market chooses who is right." The founder of the Lebite pool, Jiang Zhuoer pointed out, "Only the hard fork is allowed to represent freedom."

However, in the eyes of some investors, the fork also means “dividing”, which will split the consensus and weaken its own strength. In addition, there are also people who use the banner of a fork to invest in investors.

"For some project parties, they can make a profit every time they fork," Yin Haotian, a financial columnist, said to a blockchain.

In his view, although the ideas and techniques represented by a few mainstream forked coins have indeed won the support of some people, the bitcoin's forked coins are of little value. "It is all based on consensus to maintain value." Yin Haotian said.

This is also the fear of the forks of many currency investors – every fork of bitcoin has weakened the consensus of Bitcoin.

"The diamond itself is made up of carbon, and there are many stones that look better than diamonds. But the consensus of the society on love can only be expressed by diamonds, and it is therefore endowed with value." Yin Haotian said.

To this day, "forking" is still one of the most sensitive words in the blockchain world. Supporters and opponents are controversial around this topic. But to some extent, it is these controversies that have contributed to the prosperity of the blockchain world.

“Bitcoin forks in 2017, BCH forks in 2018, no matter whether it is in the domestic or foreign communities, everyone is quarreling.” Zhang Heng recalls, “Compared with the boring posts that predict the rise and fall, the two factions The repeated debate around the technical route is always more conducive to the future of the blockchain."

In this river of lakes, everyone wants to share a piece of cake.

Plunging, running, cutting leeks, most of the low-end forked coins have long been exposed.

But as long as the consensus exists, bad money can never be used to expel good money.

Text | Ratchet Pizza

Source | A blockchain