What is a blockchain fork?
A blockchain fork is when a blockchain splits in two, leaving two potential paths forward. This can occur with a protocol change or a network upgrade.
Often, everyone involved with the blockchain, such as miners, validators, and developers, chooses one path to follow. However, sometimes the protocol change isn’t agreed with, and the old fork retains some followers and value.
Bitcoin, like other blockchains, operates according to laws, which are programmed into its computer code.
These are a few examples of Bitcoin’s hard-coded rules, which cannot be altered:
- Fixed supply of 21 million BTC
- Maximum size of 1 MB of data in a Bitcoin block
- Mining difficulty adjusted every 2016 blocks
Some inflexible rules define Bitcoin and other blockchains. Changing one of these rules will create a completely new blockchain because the original chain will only agree to follow its original set of rules. When this happens, it’s known as a hard fork.
If not everyone agrees to make the change, then two blockchains are formed where only one blockchain originally existed. Bitcoin’s first split occurred on August 1st, 2017. This resulted in Bitcoin Cash (BCH).
Which forked coins does Exodus support?
Exodus currently supports claiming Bitcoin Cash, Bitcoin Gold, and Bitcoin SV with a wallet-sweeping tool.
Here are our Knowledge Base articles on how to claim Bitcoin Cash, Bitcoin Gold, and Bitcoin SV.
Trying to support all forks of every coin is not feasible, and is often technically impossible as well.
This applies to many of the forks of Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum, Litecoin, ZCash, EOS, and other assets that have occurred over the years. Many of these forks may offer little to no market value, or they may suffer from a lack of developer support.
How do I claim my forked coins?
Because Exodus is self-custodial, and you have access to your secret recovery phrase and private keys, you can always claim any forked coins from the past or in the future. However, we do generally discourage this for security-related reasons.
Do your own research and verify the legitimacy of any wallet you decide to use. Scam wallets often target people trying to claim forked coins. If you import your private keys into a scam wallet, both your forked and original coins will be stolen! If you have any doubts about the legitimacy of a wallet, don’t use it!
If you still want to claim your forked coins, you’ll need to find a wallet that supports both the forked coin to import your private key.
Most software wallets will have such a feature. Once you find a wallet you consider trustworthy, you can view your Exodus private key and import it into a wallet that supports the fork.
Please be very careful with your 12-word secret recovery phrase and private keys, because they control access to your funds. Never share them with anyone. Only import them into platforms you trust 100%. If you choose to import your 12-word phrase or private keys into a third-party platform, you do so at your own risk. To find out more, check out this article from our Knowledge Base: How do I keep my money safe?
As mentioned, we recommend against claiming forked currencies outside of Exodus. The process exposes your private keys, which can put them at risk of being stolen, and can also put you at risk of a replay attack in certain cases.
If you would still like to claim forked coins, please do your own research to determine which legitimate wallets support the fork and the details of how to import your private keys. Keep in mind that doing so is at your own risk.
If your funds are stolen due to importing your 12-word secret recovery phrase or private keys into another wallet, nothing can be done to retrieve them.
Questions? Need more assistance? Send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. We promise quick human help!