Create cryptocurrency or create Bitcoin fork is very easy as Bitcoin source code is freely available and anyone can download it, make their changes and, roughly speaking, create a new cryptocurrency.
This is used by many people: some aim at the improvement of the network by adding functions they consider missing and thus creating a new coin; others only seek to gain from promoting their idea on the forums, attracting people so that as big amount of coin as possible will be bought during launch and the creator will earn some money in fiat currency or bitcoins (depending on which currency the new coin will be exchanged for).
Forks and forking of cryptocurrency
How does fork work? Bitcoin client is written in C++. To create a new cryptocurrency one has to have certain skills and abilities in programming. Changing a couple of lines of code will not get you anywhere. For example, co-founder of Dogecoin, a software engineer from Portland had to spend a few days of work to make a cryptocurrency not very different from Litecoin: the only significant changes were made to emission rate and the reward for a single block mined. Accordingly, cryptocurrencies that are significantly different from those already existing require much more time to program.
All necessary data to create new cryptocurrency or to simply familiarize oneself with the technical details of Bitcoin is kept in "cloud storages" and is available to everyone.
- github.com – source code of Bitcoin client, which was called “Bitcoin core” since version 0.9.0, is stored here.
- sourceforge.net another storage of early Bitcoin builds.
Creation of fork online
There are resources which can help creating your own fork without necessary programming skills or any insight into programming whatsoever. These services obviously don’t allow one to create something that would radically differ from all the rest forks. However with their help something like Dogecoin can be created.
The process of creation is fairly simple. One just has to input all necessary data into the corresponding fields present in fork creation form:
- The name of the new cryptocurrency
- Abbreviation, an index consisting of three letters
- An ICON that serves as a depiction of the new fork
- Pick an encryption algorithm. The choice consists of just two principal algorithms: SHA-256 (Bitcoin) and Scrypt (Litecoin).
- Amount of all coins to be mined
- The reward for a single block mined
However such services aren’t free. You’ll have to spend 0.01 BTC to create your cryptocurrency. You will also have to spend an additional 0.1 BTC to receive the source code of a new coin.
Bitcoin fork differences
Most of the time creators of the new forks change the whole amount of coins, hashing algorithm and emission speed (the reward for one block mined). These changes alone allow you to launch your own Bitcoin or Litecoin fork.
In 2013 when there were few forks, achieving certain popularity for your fork with just these changes was quite possible. At the beginning of 2014 the amount of different cryptocurrencies has reached the number of 150 and it keeps rising every day. Therefore to create a popular fork today you’ll have to make significant changes to the Bitcoin source code.
The Bitcoin hard fork list is much longer, but let's enumerate seven main Bitcoin hard fork cryptocurrency projects.
- Bitcoin XT -August 19, 2015.
- Bitcoin Unlimited -January, 2016.
- Bitcoin Classic - February 2016,
- Bitcoin Cash July 23, 2017
- Bitcoin Gold - October 24, 2017
- Bitcoin SV - Fall of 2018.
- B2X. This fork was going to be launched on November 16, 2017, but was eventually canceled.
After writing the code of your cryptocurrency and creating a client for it you should distribute this client among as many people as possible. Thorough creators approach this by organizing contests and handing out premined coins.
The main resource which is used to announce new forks is a topic on Bitcointalk.org started specifically for this: bitcointalk.org. Here the creators of new cryptocurrencies announce them to public, proclaim the idea of the new currency, point out locations from where to download clients for new forks, mining pools, exchanges which accept the coin and a lot of other useful information. All discussion of newly appeared forks happens in the same threads.