2018 is the year of the Hard Fork and wouldn’t you know it, 3 different hard forks started trading recently on some exchanges. In this article, I’m going to lay out what these forks are, where the software is published and how to claim them if you dare.
A few caveats before we get started. I’m only going to examine Hard Forks that are actually open source, have a running blockchain and are traded on at least a few exchanges. If there are more forks that you think I should consider that fill these criteria, please tweet at me and let me know.
First up is Bitcoin Diamond (BCD) which probably gained the most support across exchanges before they launched. They have some code that’s clearly based on Bitcoin Core. There apparently isn’t much wallet support, though there’s a wallet called BitPie that supports it. I can’t vouch for that wallet, but they do support some different currencies and it’s more or less the only game in town if you don’t want to run a full BCD node.
The main difference with Bitcoin Diamond is that they multiplied the supply by 10. If you had 1 BTC before block 495866, you now have 10 BCD. This is done by moving the decimal point rather than making the coin more divisible. That is, with Bitcoin, 100 million satoshi = 1 BTC. With Bitcoin Diamond, 10 million satoshi = 1 BCD. It’s really just pure marketing.
Nobody really knows who the developers are but the code is relatively similar to Bitcoin Core, so there’s not too much to worry about. I would still run the code in a separate machine, physical or virtual.
For the technical geeks out there, the main difference in the transaction is that version is now 12 instead of 1. Version 12 requires that you put a block hash as the field right after version, which takes care of replay protection. The block hash can be any block hash that has already occurred as far as I can tell. Unlike BCH and BTG which use the BIP143 standard for signing all transactions, BCD uses the legacy signing for non-segwit transactions (subject to quadratic hashing and difficulty assessing value of transaction for offline signing) and BIP143 for segwit transactions.
This is an odd choice for replay protection as there is a perfectly good forking id standard pioneered by BCH and BTG, but alas, BCD decided to do its own thing. The hash type is the same as Bitcoin (usually SIGHASH_ALL) and unlike BTG or BCH, the SIGHASH_FORKID stuff is not used at all.
Bitcoin Diamond is trading at around $20/BCD as of this writing, which ends up being about $200/BTC or 1.3%.