Bitcoin was, in one respect, conceived as an experiment to create software-based money — but it remains the experiment, itself, that has actually worked out.
Bitcoin (BTC) is often viewed as the origin of the cryptocurrency ecosystem. This is both true and false. Bitcoin isn’t the first attempt at creating digital money, as there are several documented experiments that tried to accomplish a similar task.
Nevertheless, Bitcoin is the project that took off, thanks to the properties it possesses. In short, Bitcoin cannot be counterfeited, cannot be censored, has no central authority, and is publicly verifiable.
Due to its nature and the ethos of decentralization, the Bitcoin software is open-source and forkable. This means that anyone can copy the code, modify it, and create a separate blockchain. As with all things Bitcoin, this is both good and bad — but is proving to be mostly good.
With Bitcoin’s rise in popularity, several interested parties have questioned Bitcoin’s design, specifically in regards to scalability and privacy. This is basically how cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin Cash (BCH), Bitcoin SV (BSV), and Bitcoin Private (BTCP) have come into existence. These projects are forks of the Bitcoin software with some specific code alterations that integrate either a larger block size or privacy features into their respective blockchains.
Even though forks generally create an adversarial environment around Bitcoin at the times of the splits, the records show that, in the long run, Bitcoin has benefited from it.
One and a half years after Bitcoin Cash forked from Bitcoin, the altcoin is still having trouble gaining traction in the wider community. Bitcoin SV is in a similar situation after forking off Bitcoin Cash almost five months ago.
The current price of Bitcoin is $3862.93990145.
The current price of BCash is $127.47041866, or 0.03299829 BTC.
The current price of BCashSV is $64.78234411, or 0.50821473 BCash.
— BigBlockers (@big_blockers) March 13, 2019
At the time of the forks, the impact on Bitcoin’s price was felt by investors. Now, Bitcoin Cash and Bitcoin SV barely make up five percent of Bitcoin’s market capitalization.
Besides having marginal financial influence relative to Bitcoin, the forks are also suffering from low development activity and weak network metrics.
Hey @proffaustus @rogerkver @jihanwu @CalvinAyre @ryanxcharles @vinnylingham @rickfalkvinge @el33th4xor @gavinandresen @DavidShares @cryptostratz @emilolden @olivierjanss @vinarmani @justicemate @BryceWeiner @PeterRizun @DanielKrawisz @_Kevin_Pham
A reminder: pic.twitter.com/ivsQDj2ohs
— StopAndDecrypt (@StopAndDecrypt) March 13, 2019
The open-source nature of Bitcoin isn’t a roadblock. On the contrary, it’s a feature that allows Bitcoin to become battle-tested and improve its economic moat. Forks are ultimately experiments that only improve Bitcoin’s stature.
What do you think of Bitcoin’s many forks? Do they hurt or help Bitcoin (BTC)? Will any fork ever be able to compete? Share your opinion in the comments below!
Images courtesy of Twitter, Shutterstock.