What is Bitcoin Hard Bifurcation? How many stages has Bitcoin hard forking gone through?

Dec 24,2022
What is Bitcoin Hard Bifurcation? How many stages has Bitcoin hard forking gone through?

What is Bitcoin Hard Bifurcation? At the beginning of 2009, the mysterious software developer with the pseudonym of Katsumoto released a software program, which created the first cryptocurrency Bitcoin. Since then, Bitcoin has gained great appeal worldwide and inspired hundreds of other digital currencies. Many of these cryptocurrencies use techniques inherent in Nakamoto's original plans and concepts. Others adopt the Bitcoin model and adjust it or try to improve it. Next, we will introduce many of the most important bifurcations of the Bitcoin blockchain in the past few years.

Bitcoin Hard Bifurcation Schedule

What is Bitcoin Hard Bifurcation?

Bitcoin hard fork refers to the radical change of Bitcoin blockchain protocol, which effectively leads to two branches, one following the previous protocol and the other following the new version.

During the hard bifurcation period, the software for Bitcoin and its mining program has been upgraded; Once users upgrade their software, this version will reject all transactions of the old software, thus effectively creating new branches of the blockchain. It is through this bifurcation process that various digital currencies with names similar to Bitcoin have been generated, including Bitcoin cash and Bitcoin gold.

Bitcoin XT

Bitcoin XT is one of the earliest hard forks of Bitcoin. The software was launched by Mike Hearn at the end of 2014 to include several new features he proposed. Although the previous version of Bitcoin allows a maximum of 7 transactions per second, Bitcoin XT aims at 24 transactions per second. To achieve this, it proposes to increase the block size from 1 megabyte to 8 megabytes.

Bitcoin XT was initially successful, with more than 1000 nodes running its software at the end of summer 2015.

However, only a few months later, the project lost the interest of users and was basically abandoned by users. Bitcoin XT is no longer available and its original website is no longer available.

Bitcoin Classic

When Bitcoin XT fell, some community members still wanted to increase the block size. In response, a group of developers launched Bitcoin Classic in early 2016. Unlike XT's proposal to increase the block size to 8 megabytes, the classic Bitcoin intends to increase it to only 2 megabytes.

Like Bitcoin XT, Bitcoin Classic initially attracted people's interest, with about 2000 nodes in several months in 2016.

The project still exists today, and some developers strongly support Bitcoin Classic. Nevertheless, the larger cryptocurrency community seems to have generally turned to other options.

Bitcoin Unlimited

Since its release in early 2016, Bitcoin Unlimited has been a mystery. The developers of this project released the code, but did not specify which type of fork is required. Bitcoin Unlimited is different by allowing miners to determine their block size. Nodes and miners limit the block size they accept to 16 megabytes.

Despite some lingering interest, Infinite Bitcoin has not been recognized to a large extent.

Isolation witness

Pieter Wuille, Bitcoin Core developer, put forward the idea of SegWit at the end of 2015. In short, SegWit aims to reduce the size of each Bitcoin transaction, allowing more transactions to occur simultaneously. SegWit is technically a soft fork. However, it may help to push hard bifurcations after it was originally proposed.

Bitcoin cash

In order to deal with SegWit, some Bitcoin developers and users decided to initiate hard branching to avoid protocol updates. Bitcoin cash is the result of this hard split. It was separated from the main blockchain in August 2017, when the Bitcoin cash wallet rejected Bitcoin transactions and blocks.

Bitcoin cash remains the most successful hard fork among the major cryptocurrencies. As of June 2021, it is the 11th largest digital currency by market value, partly due to the support of many celebrities from the cryptocurrency community and many popular exchanges.

Bitcoin cash allows 8 megabyte blocks and does not use the SegWit protocol.

Bitcoin Gold

Bitcoin gold is a hard fork launched in October 2017 shortly after Bitcoin cash. The creators of the hard fork aim to use the basic graphics processing unit (GPU) to restore the mining function, because they believe that the mining is in the required equipment and hardware.

Although personal laptops and desktops can be used to mine Bitcoin at first, the increasing difficulty of mining and the emergence of special integrated circuit (ASIC) hardware created specifically for Bitcoin mining make it almost impossible to mine Bitcoin profitably by using the processing speed of personal computers at home. Some Bitcoin forks, including Bitcoin Gold, attempt to make Bitcoin more accessible by changing the hardware required to establish a network connection.

One of the unique features of Bitcoin Gold Hard Bifurcation is "pre digging", that is, the process of the development team digging 100000 coins after the bifurcation.

Many of these coins have been put into a special "endowment fund". The developer said that the endowment fund will be used to develop and fund the Bitcoin gold ecosystem, and some of these coins will also be kept as payments for developers. Generally, Bitcoin gold follows many basic principles of Bitcoin. However, it is different in requiring the miners' proof of work (PoW) algorithm.

Isolation witness 2x

When SegWit was implemented in August 2017, developers planned to upgrade the protocol to a second component. This addition, called SegWit2x, will trigger a hard fork, which specifies a block size of 2 megabytes.

SegWit2x was originally scheduled as a hard fork in November 2017. However, many companies and individuals in the Bitcoin community who initially supported the SegWit protocol decided to withdraw from the hard fork in the second part. To some extent, the strong opposition is the result of SegWit2x, including the option of adding (rather than mandatory) replay protection; This will have a significant impact on the type of transactions accepted by the new fork. On November 8, 2017, the team behind SegWit2x announced that due to the differences between previous supporters of the project, their hard branching plan had been cancelled.

What is the first Bitcoin fork?

The two largest Bitcoin hard forks are Bitcoin Cash and Bitcoin Gold, although there are other smaller hard forks. The first famous Bitcoin fork is Bitcoin XT, which was launched by Mike Hearn in 2014. Although the previous version of Bitcoin allows a maximum of 7 transactions per second, Bitcoin XT aims at 24 transactions per second. To achieve this, it proposes to increase the block size from 1 megabyte to 8 megabytes.

When does Bitcoin split?

Usually, the purpose of branching is to add new functions to the blockchain. Since its first launch in 2009, Bitcoin has experienced many different bifurcations. Each bifurcation creates a new version of Bitcoin currency. Bitcoin was released as open source code, aiming to improve over time. Bitcoin bifurcation is a natural result of the blockchain system structure. It operates without central authority.

The first major Bitcoin fork was at the end of 2014.

Is hard fork good or bad?

Any hard fork will have a profound impact on cryptocurrency; This is usually an unstable period for cryptocurrencies. In some cases, communities may disagree on the necessity and impact of changes caused by bifurcation. In addition, the price of cryptocurrency usually fluctuates greatly before and after the hard fork.

In general, in just a few years, Bitcoin has spawned a large number of bifurcations. Although no one can say for sure, cryptocurrency is likely to continue to experience soft and hard bifurcations in the future, constantly developing the cryptocurrency community and making it more and more complex.