This infographic provides a schematic overview of the main Bitcoin-related “forks” that can happen and shows the most important forks that have happened. It does not provide an overview of all forks that have happened.
What Are Bitcoin Forks?
The word “fork” is somewhat confusing because there are different kinds of “forks” that 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 an unintentional 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.