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 which 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.
What Are Bitcoin Forks?
In layman’s terms, forking software means taking the blockchain software in a different direction, or, in other words, changing it.
But, because so many folks are all using the software, changing it requires consensus, which can be a difficult process.
I don’t know about you, but getting a few of my colleagues to all agree on the same place for lunch is challenging. Well, 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.
Now if you’ve heard about forks, you’ve likely also heard about 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 forked versions of the original Bitcoin Core software are Bitcoin Gold (BTG), Bitcoin SV (BSV), and Bitcoin Cash (BCH).
How to be a Bitcoin Node
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 hashrate — its computational power, you’ll need dedicated hardware known as application specific integrated circuits (ASICs) and to join a mining pool to make mining profitable. One place from which you can buy ASICs is Bitmain, but due to high demand, they’re expensive.