“How was your bitcoin?”
“I didn’t like it so I copy pasted its open-source code and renamed it to Bitcoin [insert some lame name].”
Something similar happened around 20 times already. Handful of these forks (basically a spin off of an open-source software with some added or removed features) are well known – Bitcoin Cash, Bitcoin Gold, Bitcoin Private, Bitcoin Diamond …
But some of them are ridiculous, starting from their name to people behind them, everything yells unserious and shady.
What can we expect this year?
Another batch of around 30 forks could happen, lifting the whole fork tally to 50, according to Lex Sokolin, global director of fintech strategy at Autonomous Research.
That number is insane but thanks to Forkgen, it could go even go higher than that. Forkgen enables non-tech people to create their own fork with couple of clicks of a button.
Of course, most of these forks make no sense and will never gain traction in the market. The sad part is, their creators will use any means available to them and try and catch gullible people who will hold or even buy their worthless coin.
Forks more popular than ICOs
Since ICOs got in regulation spotlight, they are not as lucrative as before for scammers as many of them got caught by authorities. Fork is now a more a porfitable business – piggybacking on the bitcoin brand and no clear rules and regulations for forks, yet.
“Unfortunately, most fork-based projects we see today are more of a sheer money grab,”
said George Kimionis in a Bloomberg interview, chief executive officer of Coinomi, a wallet that lets Bitcoin owners collect their new forked coins.
“Looking back a few years from now we might realize that they were just mutations fostered by investors blinded by numerical price increases — rather than honest attempts to contribute to the blockchain ecosystem.”
“Bitcoin forks are kind of the new alt coin,”
Rhett Creighton, who’s working on the upcoming Bitcoin Private fork, said in a phone interview with Bloomberg.
“We are going to see now a bunch of Bitcoin forks. And they are going to start replacing some of the top hundred alt coins.”
Bitcoin Cash started off, followed by many others
First bitcoin forks were only software forks which led to birth of Bitcoin XT, Bitcoin Unlimited and Bitcoin Classic. However, sometimes for political reasons and many times for quick profits, hard forks took over with Bitcoin Cash which was the first hard fork to occur on Bitcoin’s blockchain, followed by Bitcoin Gold and Bitcoin Diamond.
Litecoin and Dogecoin and some other, now almost forgotten coins, are also clones of bitcoin code, but at least they had enough dignity to pick out different names and add some features to distinct themselves from Bitcoin.
Mining bitcoin is not profitable for small, mom and pop miners for a long time now. Mining has evolved into a real industry dominated by big players who use specialized hardware and facilities located in areas with cheap electricity.
Large majority of new fork coins are not interesting for these big guns in the mining industry so small miners, with their homemade rigs see their chance in that. Most of the forks found support in mining community for this reason.
Forking the forks
Even some of Bitcoin’s initial forks are getting forked, with Bitcoin Cash getting a proposed derivative, Bitcoin Candy. Litecoin also forked multiple times – most recently with Litecoin Cash.
Forking is not limited only on bitcoin – couple of weeks ago Monero did a planned hard fork to update their software which resulted in 5 new coins.
Although forks and ICOs brought some fast and easy money to their creators back in 2016-17, people are becoming more and more immune to new coins flooding the market. This ICO and fork frenzy will eventually die out when scammers realize that no one cares about them and their “cool new features” that are only concepts with no real implementation.
As with any industry, maturing of crypto space will lead to survival of the fittest and only those who provide actual value and put in the work will be rewarded by the community.