Bitcoin forks are invariably contentious, but the latest batch could be the most controversial yet. Bitcoin Prime and Anonymous Bitcoin have been labeled as shameless cash grabs that are little more than pump and dumps orchestrated by opportunistic developers. The projects’ architects of these schemes, naturally, have hit back.
New Forks Fuel a Furore
The Most Controversial Bitcoin Forks Yet Are ComingRhett Creighton has always been a polarizing figure, but his latest stunt has united a swathe of the cryptocurrency community in condemnation. EOS’ Dan Larimer is synonymous with jumping from project to project, but his flitting looks like a lifetime of faithful service compared to Rhett’s itchy feet. Having announced a dual fork of bitcoin and zclassic last December, which inflated the price of ZCL and enriched Rhett and his cronies no end, he’s now following suit with bitcoin and primecoin to create Bitcoin Prime.
Meanwhile, a separate project is doing another fork of zclassic and bitcoin to create Anonymous Bitcoin which aims to “become the new standard for truly private banking”. This means that zlassic will now have forked twice with bitcoin to create a pair of zk-SNARK-based privacy coins – three times if you include zencash, which was also born from a ZCL fork. Zen, to its credit, has since gone on to forge its own community and to differentiate itself from its parent coin. Bitcoin Private, on the other hand, has done little more than infuriate ZCL bagholders, many of whom lost money on the deal. ZCL has now died and been reborn more times than anyone can count, and is currently up 242% in a month.
A Prime Way to Pump a Dead Coin
Primecoin was trading at 80 cents until Rhett Creighton bought a bunch, announced his plan to fork it, abandoned the Bitcoin Private project, and pressed ahead with his latest money-maker. Many of Rhett’s claims have stuck in the craw of the cryptocurrency community, who recognize a snake oil salesman when they see one. Some figures, including bitcoin developer Jimmy Song, believe that BTC forks are little more than altcoins or airdrops and don’t deserve to be categorized under the bitcoin banner.
Regardless of their status, the approach that developers such as Rhett Creighton have taken to merrily forking coins has come in for censure. He’s played heavily, for example, on the fact that Vitalik Buterin once considered building ethereum on top of primecoin, as if this somehow legitimizes the creation of Bitcoin Prime. With primecoin up 350% since the fork was announced, those who got in early – like Rhett Creighton – will profit handsomely whatever happens.
A Wild Bitcoin Fork Appears
Another bitcoin fork emerged this week, turning up in the unlikeliest of places – Bitfinex. Most major exchanges have given bitcoin forks short shrift ever since bitcoin gold and bitcoin diamond but for unknown reasons, Bitfinex has decided to support Bitcoin Interest (BCI). The coin forked from bitcoin back in January, and Bitfinex intends to issue BCI later this month before launching trading. The utility provided by BCI remains to be seen, whose defining feature is the provision of interest to holders who stake their tokens. Whatever its fate, Bitcoin Interest wasn’t born out of a shameless pump of an existing coin, and for that reason alone should prove less controversial than the likes of Bitcoin Prime.