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What Are Bitcoin Forks?

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The word “fork” is somewhat confusing because there are different kinds of “forks” that can mean very different things.

A codebase fork is a copy of the code of a software implementation. A codebase fork typically makes tweaks to the original codebase. In the context of Bitcoin, codebase forks can be entirely compatible with the Bitcoin protocol, they can cause a blockchain fork or they can establish a whole new cryptocurrency.

A blockchain fork happens when a blockchain branches into two versions of transaction history. This can happen for a number of reasons, can be expected or unexpected and can, depending on the circumstances, lead to a number of outcomes, ranging from a single orphaned block to a whole new cryptocurrency.

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