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What is a Bitcoin hard fork?

A Bitcoin hard fork is a new version of the cryptocurrency resulting from a full-scale blockchain upgrade.

physical bitcoin on table
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Despite having experienced a bumpy start, Bitcoin is eventually beginning to convince various businesses and institutions worldwide.

Bitcoin has continued to gain more influence due to this promising trend.

Some of the notable drawbacks Bitcoin enthusiasts have battled in the past include unprecedented price variations, and platform breaches, among others.

Unfortunately, the price of Bitcoin and other cryptos relies heavily on emotions and perceptions. 

If prominent business people like Elon Musk or Bill Gates praised Bitcoin today, the prices would skyrocket immediately.

While a good thing, the attachment of worth and personal opinions makes cryptocurrencies largely unpredictable, thus hurting millions of investments globally.

Besides price instability, Bitcoin has faced numerous technical shortages. For instance, the total transaction volume the Bitcoin network can handle daily is unsustainable.

A Bitcoin on a laptop
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Many users would experience inconveniences if every country began using Bitcoin today. Visit the official site of the most trusted online trading platform to enhance your trading skills. 

So to ensure everything stays on course, the Bitcoin community has executed various upgrade programs within the first decade of Bitcoin’s existence.

For instance, secondary layer network companies have emerged to ease the heavy congestion on the Bitcoin blockchain.

Everyone should be thankful to the people who created the lightning network because Bitcoin transactions are no longer slow or costly.

Not to forget, technical initiatives like Bitcoin hard forks have also been handy in making Bitcoin technology more reliable. 

What’s Bitcoin forking?

Bitcoin forking entails upgrading the current Bitcoin variants into new versions.

During the process, the Bitcoin software development community considers many factors to ensure the result favors most users.

And this means that a Bitcoin fork is a new BTC variant. Depending on the extent of the upgrade process, a new BTC variant may resemble the parent version in some aspects or emerge entirely differently.

But don’t worry. We shall dig deeper into the types of Bitcoin forks in the upcoming subheadings.

The technical aspects of Bitcoin forking

bitcoin on table using miners
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Bitcoin forks are outcomes of various Bitcoin improvement programs.

And because the projects involve intensive software development, they’re expensive and take years to develop, test thoroughly, and deploy.

That’s why there have been multiple Bitcoin fork programs, with only a few making it to the final stage.

To create a Bitcoin fork, the developers can update only some of the crucial system files or all of them.

If not all the critical files undergo an upgrade, the resultant Bitcoin resembles the parent one and is compatible with all the previous system files, called a soft Bitcoin fork. 

Understanding Bitcoin hard forks

Instead of updating just selected crucial files, blockchain programmers can edit all the central files, leaving a new Bitcoin version.

Hard forking creates new Bitcoin versions because the resultant technical files aren’t compatible with the original ones. In other words, hard forking splits the blockchain into two.

Hard forks are superior to earlier Bitcoin versions because they take up less space, thus making them more efficient.

Besides, hard forks have much larger transaction volumes than the older BTC versions. 

hand holding Bitcoin in front of computer with charts
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We can today select various currency options on trustworthy Bitcoin exchanges because hard forks make it possible. Hard Bitcoin forks also facilitate the creation of new features on the Bitcoin platform.

Some additional functionalities tend to make the Bitcoin network more immune to hacking and other cyber crimes.

Moreover, forking projects can also eliminate various Bitcoin design limitations and make the technology more pleasing to the world. 

Parting shot

A Bitcoin hard fork is a new Bitcoin version resulting from a full-scale blockchain upgrade. During the process, all crucial system files change, making them incompatible with the new ones.

Hard forks take years to fully develop, test, improve, and deploy. Besides, forking is a software development task, calling for a lot of funds and other resources.  

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Chris has been blogging since the early days of the internet. He primarily focuses on topics related to tech, business, marketing, and pretty much anything else that revolves around tech. When he's not writing, you can find him noodling around on a guitar or cooking up a mean storm for friends and family.

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