What are cryptocurrency forks?
In general, each development of cryptocurrency is known as a fork. This name had been used first with Bitcoin - when developers took a copy of source code and started independent development of an upgrade.
These can be introducing some not groundbreaking changes in the system - like soft forks (Bitcoin XT or Bitcoin classic, introduced to improve Bitcoin Network - it's speed, the number of BTC transactions and the internal blockchain fees).
Alternatively, there can be more fundamental modifications, like big updates of services: March 2013 Chain fork, CVE-2018-17144 hard forks for Bitcoin.
Finally, there are some disagreements within the cryptocurrency community, which are hard forks, leading to the creation of new cryptocurrencies - like of Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash hard fork split.
How was Bitcoin Cash created?
Bitcoin hard fork, leading to the creation of Bitcoin Cash took place on 1.8.2017. This happened, because of the small block size of BTC at the time. Adding the features of Bitcoin Improvement Proposal 91 part of the Bitcoin community stated, that it was promoting people who regard BTC as an investment ("digital gold"), not a digital currency. In their opinion, it was against the rules stated in the white paper by Satoshi Nakamoto. Many activists, investors, and miners supported that split into two cryptocurrencies, to keep up with the idea from the paper.
What is Bitcoin Cash hard fork? Why was it created?
As time passed by, the continuous development of BCH and discussion within its community leads us to the date of 15th of November 2018, the day of the expected hard fork and future options of the development of this one of the most popular cryptocurrencies.
As it seems on the day this article is published, most likely this will lead into the split of BCH into two currencies with the different features.
What is Bitcoin ABC?
First of all, the main and the biggest part of the Bitcoin Cash community Cash can be described as traditionalist one. They call themselves "Bitcoin ABC" - from Adjustable Blocksize Cap). These people are persuaded, that in overall, BCH does not need to be totally reworked. Only some elements are needed to be improved, as a form of normal development of cryptocurrency.
For the future, among these elements are:
Bitcoin Cash smart contracts (unavailable for both BTC and BCH right now), the increased fungibility of that crypto, adjusting (scaling) the block size for nodes, oracle services – all introduced in a step by step form.
What is Bitcoin SV?
The other, opposite big group is lead by a man claiming he is Satoshi Nakamoto himself – Craig Wright supported by people who call themselves Bitcoin Satoshi's Vision. They support radical changes, including block size to 128 MB, getting the support from miners as returning the original Bitcoin protocol.
What is Bitcoin Unlimited?
Bitcoin Unlimited is the smallest group, aiming at keeping one hard fork for taking under consideration voting for all the elements and ideas of both ABC and SV communities one by one and keep project united. This is because although ideas of BTC ABC and BTC SV groups, seem to be compatible with each other, their supporters exclude consensus.
What effect a hard fork of Bitcoin Cash has on cryptocurrencies?
Considering that BCH is one of the biggest and most recognizable cryptocurrencies, BCH hard fork can have a big impact on the whole cryptocurrency economy.
First of all, it is (by the moment you will read the article, most likely it will already be done) creating the new cryptocurrency itself, what can literally give you (at least for some time) free digital money. This is another way of making money with cryptocurrencies, which we did not mention in one of the previous articles (article on earning on BTC link).
On the other hand, it can be said that splits between cryptocurrencies might have some influence upon the credibility of cryptocurrency, slowing down development of BCH (fewer people working on one single project). As well, considering the fact that Bitcoin cash is among the most popular cryptocurrencies, such situation can temporarily have a negative impact on the market. In some cases, it could be a good argument for buying other cryptocurrencies, if you are looking for an investment (article on cryptocurrency volatility link).