Forking Bitcoin is where a currency is split into two or more currencies. When it is a hard fork the code or software that comprises a coin, such as Bitcoin, changes in some significant way designed to offer an improvement on the existing model. In that case, some of the nodes might fork away from the general nodes. All nodes that agree on the blockchain form a consensus. Those that 'break away' do not. Bitcoin Cash is a hard fork from Bitcoin as an example.
Forking is more common that most people realise. Currently there have been around 69 forks of Bitcoin. Most do not see the light of day and are not even listed on the crypto exchanges. Just a few, such as Bitcoin Cash and Bitcoin Gold for example, become popular enough to be traded and achieve a value.
Here is a list of the forks that are currently listed on exchanges:
Bitcoin Cash (BCH)
Bitcoin Gold (BTG)
Bitcoin Private (BTCP)
Bitcoin Diamond (BCD)
Super Bitcoin (SBTC)
Bitcoin X (DCX)
Bitcoin Atom (BCA)
There are others too numerous to mention and which have no or little value. In fact when you remove the value of Bitcoin Cash from the list of Bitcoin Forks, the remainder have very little value at all. Other coins (altcoins) also have forks and Bitcoin, Monero, Ethereum and Litecoin, for example, have a around 80 additional coins that can be claimed for free provided it is worth while claiming them (When a new fork is created holders of the original coin can often claim the additional coins created in the fork at the time of creation)
The full list of bitcoin forks can be found on Forkdrop.io and you will see that most of the coins are not even listed on exchanges and there is no trading with them. Notwithstanding that there are ways to claim Bitcoin Forks but it is moot if there is any value in doing so when you consider the cost of doing do. Ther area is somewhat fraught with difficulty although some sites will assist you in doing so for a fee which hardly makes it worthwhile.
Of the ten tradable forks you can trade on exchanges the combined value is somewhere just under a thousand dollars US and when you deduct Bitcoin Cash the total value is just over 200 dollars. Unless you have amassed a heap of Bitcoins there is actually .little value in attempting to claim and if you do you run the risk of exposing your private key on a third party site for what barely amounts to an additional 2.5% of your total Bitcoin holdings. The same applies to Altcoins.
If one is really determined to accumulate forks then some thorough due diligence is required and an understanding of how forking works is required. One can use software such as Forkgen.tech who basically do all the work. But ensure you fully understand how it works and what all the issues are before you enthusiastically go ahead.
This article is for information purposes only and is not to be construed as financial information for any purposes such as investment or speculation and it is the responsibility of the reader to perform proper due diligence before acting upon any of the information provided. We recommend that you consult with a licensed, qualified investment advisor.