Upcoming Bitcoin Forks- Full Guide
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A cryptocurrency fork is when a particular currency splits into two when its existing code is changed. In case of a hard fork, the split results into two new coins each with its unique code.
One of the earliest bitcoin core forks was when the developer Mike Hearn introduced Bitcoin XT in 2014. Mike intended to bring about new features to improve the original Bitcoin protocol. The original bitcoin could only manage seven transactions per second. Mike’s new Bitcoin XT was projected to complete up to 24 transactions in the same time frame. He proposed increasing the codes block size from the original 1 megabyte to 8 megabytes to increase the transaction speed. This project gained ground in its early stages but users eventually lost interest and focused on the original bitcoin. The coin is still available but has no significant users. Since this fork, there have been numerous bitcoin forks amounting to more than 20. Only a few like Bitcoin cash and Bitcoin gold have been so far successful and gained a significant market.
What are upcoming bitcoin forks?
Upcoming bitcoin forks are possible splits from the original protocol to create a new coin with improved features and a new code. The new coins from the forks come with new rules that users must adhere to if they want to be included in the new blockchain.
Forks happen at a particular block point. This point is assigned a number like block 670678. Users in a particular blockchain can agree to change the rules at a particular block and decide that the next new block will adhere to the new rules. At this particular point, users get to get a new coin for every old coin they had. They can choose to use either of the coins or use both. Point to note here is that after a hard fork, you have to claim the new coins as you won’t get them automatically, but you are entitled to them.
When a fork occurs any previous invalid blocks or transaction are made valid and maintain the old code. Nodes or computers within that particular network are given an option to adopt the latest version of that protocol’s software or maintain the original protocol if they so wish to remain in the old blockchain. Nodes on the old blockchain do not interact or acknowledge nodes or transactions on the new blockchain.
A soft fork involves a partial change from the old blockchain to the new. The two are backward compatible as the nodes from the original blockchain recognize and can transact with those on the new blockchain. Nodes that are not yet upgraded to validate new transactions, but as these non-upgraded nodes continue mining block, those blocks get rejected by the upgraded nodes. The fork with the majority hashing power eventually becomes the longest and the dominant blockchain while that with the minority is orphaned and is eliminated.
Why upcoming bitcoin forks are important?
Bitcoin and other coins are important in various ways. Taking the case of bitcoin, there were scalability and slow transaction speeds in the original blockchain.
- Forking creates a new coin with new and improved features. In the case of bitcoin cash, it solved original bitcoin’s scalability issues to some extent.
- The new coin follows the original coin’s ideas but improves on their functionality and use. A good example is bitcoin cash, that increased the original block size from one to eight megabytes, thus increasing the transaction speed. This coin was forked at block 478,559.
- A fork creates a new opportunity for both miners and users to make free money. Considering that one gets a new coin for every one that they hold, you can then sell your new coins once they get listed in an exchange.
How can you claim an upcoming BTC fork?
If you are a holder of BTC coins and are anticipating an upcoming bitcoin fork, you have to be ready to claim your new coins. Read about the upcoming fork project and make sure you understand the details of the fork and check the legitimacy of the project developers to ascertain their credibility. The manner in which your coins depends on the type of platform you have your old coins.
Here is how you should do it;
Step 1: You need to have access to the private keys of your wallet
It is important that you are in control of your private keys before trying to claim the new coins. Having control of those keys prevents possible scammers from getting access to your original coins. Move your bitcoins to another address first before you initiate the claiming process.
Step 2: Ensure that you have your original coins in an offline wallet that supports the fork or on a platform that does.
This is particularly important, since the developers of the new coin will take a snapshot of that new chain at a particular block height. Having your coins in a wallet that supports the fork will enable you to have the duplicate coins after they go live. Your balance must be recorded on the public ledger before the block at which the split occurs.
Step 3: Download the official wallet of the new coin and then configure it to claim your coins
Go to the fork’s official website and download the new coin’s official wallet. It is in this wallet that you will get your new coins once the fork goes live. Keep in mind that you have to transfer your original coins to another address before duplicating your private keys. Never claim the new coins while you still have a balance of your old coins in your wallet.
Step 4: You then wait until the forked coin goes live to finalize the process
After the new block has been recorded, you can now transfer your new coins to the new wallet. Ensure that you keep your private keys and address. Please note that it can take from a few hours to a few days or weeks before developers finalize everything and taking the new network online. There are also some reputable exchanges like Binance that support legitimate forks. These exchanges can assist you to claim your new coins, but you are never in control of your coins. They also offer futures that you can sell even before the coin goes live.
However, you may end up selling at very low prices while you could have waited and make a good profit. you will also not get the new coins if you trade away your futures. Don’t rely on random internet guides to claim your coins. Ensure that you get to the official website to avoid being scammed.
Are upcoming bitcoin forks safe?
Not all bitcoin forks are safe. It is important to take due diligence before getting into any new network. While a few coins like bitcoin cash and bitcoin gold have managed to offer something new and of value, most other forks are simply ideological and are just out to try and get free money. Bitcoin forks are quickly becoming the new ICOs (Initial Coin Offerings). Another problem is with the developers. Several of these forks do not have any bitcoin history. They have their own unique codes that give developers a large amount of coins which they then dump into the cryptocurrency markets at the expense of unsuspecting users and traders.
Other forks are simply scams. A good example that has so far been reported as a potential scam is bitcoin platinum. Scammers try to steal your bitcoins by tricking you to give your private keys to them. Generally, most developers are forking bitcoin instead of creating new altcoins as a marketing buzz. They are capitalizing on bitcoin popularity to create coins that have no intrinsic value and then dump the same on the market making free money. Those who end up buying the dumped coins lose their money as most of these forks rarely increase in value.
Recent and upcoming bitcoin forks 2018
Bitcoin Hot (BTH) – Block height 498848
It offers fast transactions, smart contracts, is anti-quantum hash and zero-knowledge proof. This coin is active but not trading at the moment.
Super Bitcoin (SBTC) – Block height 498888
December 12, 2017. It’s a coin based on smart contracts. The network transactions are at a lightning speed, has a bigger block size than bitcoin and has zero knowledge proof. The coin is already trading in various exchanges.
ABitcoin (ABTC) – Block Height 498888
It is a hard fork of bitcoin and Achain. It brings together bitcoin and Achain features of cross chain communication, fast transactions, low fees, anti-quantum attack and DPOS consensus mechanism. The coin does not seem to be trading at the moment.
Bitcoin Platinum (BTP) – Block height 497757/498533
This coin’s official site claims that it is Satoshi’s original vision of decentralized currency. Various sites claim that this fork is a fake and a fraud. It is not listed in the available exchanges.
Bitcoin Oil (OBTC) – Block height 498888
It is a proof of stake coin that allows CPU mining. The coin does not seem to be trading at the moment.
Bitcoin Faith (BTF) –Block height 500000
It’s a smart contracts coin with 8 mb blocks hence a lightening network. Its snapshot has already occurred, and the coin is trading at various exchanges.
Bitcoin Pizza (BPA) – Block height 501888
It uses Directed Acrylic Graph Technology. Developers in the process of finalizing the network.
Bitcoin Interest (BCI) –Block height 505083
This is a proof of stake bitcoin fork that rewards you with coins for holding the BCI. The snap shot for this coin has already occurred. It focusses on encouraging users to save by holding their coins on the network and earning an interest. The coin does not seem to be trading at the moment.
Bitcoin Hush – Block height is not given
It’s a four-way cryptocurrency or bitcoin fork that allows you to take value from four different blockchains including Hush, Supernet, Dex and BTC. It is a Komodo asset chain.
BitcoinClean – Block height 517799.
It is an ecofriendly bitcoin fork intended to be energy efficient and friendly when mining. It seeks to minimize the high carbo emissions associated with Bitcoin mining. It uses proof of greenness protocol. It is the first cryptocurrency that will rely on renewable energy such as solar, wind and biogas.
Bitcoin Lunar (BCL)
It is not stated at which block it will split from the main network or the official release datebut it’s among the major next BTC forks. It is also not clear what this fork intends to do.
In a Nutshell
Forks can be good if they are bringing something new and of value to the industry. They are supposed to improve on the existing technology. Bitcoin Cash and Bitcoin Gold are some of the forks that have proven to be stable and worthy so far in 2018. Before running to claim new free coins from a fork, take your time to study the dynamics and the intrinsic value of that particular coin to avoid ending up with a useless digital currency that you can neither use or sell.
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