Bitcoin Q&A: What is a fork?

What is a fork? What is the difference between a client fork and a network fork? How do hard forks create new coins? What are examples of consensus forks? Does Bitcoin ever go down for maintenance? How does the community come to consensus, particularly regarding soft forks?

These questions are from the MOOC 9.5 session which took place on March 16th, 2018. Andreas is a teaching fellow with the University of Nicosia. The first course in their Master of Science in Digital Currency degree, DFIN-511: Introduction to Digital Currencies, is offered for free as an open enrollment MOOC course to anyone interested in learning about the fundamental principles.

If you want early-access to talks and a chance to participate in the monthly live Q&As with Andreas, become a patron:

Forkology: A Study of Forks for Newbies –
What is Consensus: Rules Without Rulers –
Decentralized Truth –
The Lion and the Shark: Divergent Evolution in Cryptocurrency –
What happens during a fork? –
Lessons from the Ethereum hard fork -
Hard forks and the cultural mulligan –
The dangers of hard forks in protocol evolution –
Honest nodes and consensus –
Why running a node is important –
How do I choose a wallet? –
SegWit adoption –
How do I secure my bitcoin? –
Airdrop coins and privacy implications –
Inflation and debt systems –
TheDAO: Why failure is a necessity for learning –

Andreas M. Antonopoulos is a technologist and serial entrepreneur who has become one of the most well-known and respected figures in bitcoin.

Follow on Twitter: @aantonop

He is the author of two books: “Mastering Bitcoin,” published by O’Reilly Media and considered the best technical guide to bitcoin; “The Internet of Money,” a book about why bitcoin matters.





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13 thoughts on “Bitcoin Q&A: What is a fork?”

  1. Wait, so if Bitcoin Core dev team upgraded BTC block size just as Bitcoin Cash did, BTC would then be a hard fork just like BCH? Which Fork would you then support because technically neither would be the original Bitcoin would it?

  2. Consensus rules! Something NO Govt anywhere in the world would EVER implement.A future where consensus rules via economic incentives being aligned may be the only hope of dismantling corrupt oppressive govts that would require decades of future tech development to unfold. Many moving parts in play there.Debate amongst yourselves.

  3. Entire books will be written on forks.You are teaching the next generation of authors.Thank you Andreas!

  4. I read today that even though bitcoin ideology says no one ones the bitcoin name, some bad players have committed bait and switch fraud stealing thousands of dollars off older people. Ideology has its place but not when people are getting harmed. Grandparents trying to buy one currency for their grandchildren only to find out the website doesn’t say anything that it’s a FORK from bitcoin. Enough is enough with this protection for Ver.

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