Bitcoin Core is Bitcoin — that’s right, it’s the original BTC.
More specifically, it’s the software that runs the Bitcoin network. It was formerly called Bitcoin-QT.
Bitcoin Core is the original software wallet that verifies transactions on the Bitcoin blockchain. It’s the first and most versatile full node. It can also be used as a desktop client for regular payments.
Bitcoin is also known as Bitcoin Legacy because of Bitcoin forks. We cover what these are in the next section.
What Are Bitcoin Forks?
In layman’s terms, forking software means changing it.
But, because so many folks are using the original software, changing it requires universal consensus, which can be exceedingly difficult.
I don’t know about you, but getting a few of my colleagues to all agree on the same place for lunch is challenging. Now imagine hundreds of thousands of folks trying to agree on a new software feature! It can be a nightmare.
Some will go along, but many won’t.
This can result in two competing versions of the same project — the newer, hopefully better version and the legacy version.
As the two versions compete for users, they will naturally diverge with time. This is what happened with Bitcoin, Ethereum, and many other cryptocurrencies, resulting in legacy versions.
Now that we’ve covered what forks are let’s address the two types — a hard fork and a soft fork.
A hard fork is a permanent divergence from the previous version of the blockchain, which requires all nodes or users to upgrade their software (or risk being isolated from the system entirely).
By contrast, a soft fork represents a divergence with limited technical implications – e.g., new transactions can still be acknowledged by old nodes.
Three of the more popular, non-compatible hard-forked versions of the original Bitcoin Core software are Bitcoin Gold (BTG), Bitcoin SV (BSV), and Bitcoin Cash (BCH). You can see these at vastly different price points on price chart websites like CoinGecko.
How to Be a Bitcoin Node and Earn Money Solving Crypto Puzzles
If you’d like to be a node on the Bitcoin network or to mine Bitcoin, visit the Bitcoin Core website to download the latest software.
Unfortunately, due to the high global Bitcoin mining hash rate — its computational power, you’ll need dedicated hardware known as application-specific integrated circuits (ASICs) to join a mining pool to make mining profitable. One place where you can buy ASICs is Bitmain, but they’re expensive due to high demand.