Back in March 2018, bitcoin (BTC)  forked once again. While some of the forks of the world's leading cryptocurrency have been high profile, drawing attention from around the world, this one was decidedly less so. Bitcoin private was not exactly the same as other digital currency forks from BTC, however. Instead of being generated directly from bitcoin, as was the case with popular cryptocurrencies like bitcoin cash and bitcoin gold, bitcoin private was created from a copy of a digital currency known as zclassic. Zclassic was itself a copy of zcash, which in turn was a copy of the original bitcoin. From the beginning, bitcoin private has led a complicated existence.

Zclassic Fork Failed

In many cases, hard forks have proven to be immediately successful, providing holders of the earlier versions of those cryptocurrencies with fast cash. Ethereum classic and bitcoin cash are two examples of this; both were airdropped cryptocurrencies, meaning that at the time they were launched, any investor who held the original digital token would receive a proportional amount of the new cryptocurrency as well.

Zclassic, on the other hand, was not immediately successful. In fact, while its parent cryptocurrency remained popular, zclassic flatlined throughout 2017. Rhett Creighton, the developer behind bitcoin private, decided that there was still potential in the failing fork, according to Coin Desk. He made a suggestion on via tweet: "I would like to propose revitalizing zclassic by migrating it to become a bitcoin hard fork," he suggested.

While Creighton had nothing to do with generating the code, the white paper, or other fundamental aspects of zclassic, his plan nonetheless found sufficient support to become reality.

Private Key Links

Inherent in bitcoin private is the use of an investor's private key—the access code used to retrieve tokens from digital wallets—for multiple storage devices. Creighton explains that "all these people have their private keys, but when forks spring up now the same private key can be used in different peer-to-peer networks." He adds that "no one has ever done a fork like this." Besides the private key implementation, which has seen criticism over security concerns, bitcoin private also distinguishes itself from zclassic and bitcoin by introducing a founders' fee. This fee provides 20% of the digital currency generated by mining back to the development team of the currency.

What remains to be seen is whether bitcoin private will sufficiently distinguish itself from zclassic, zcash and bitcoin to become independently popular. So far, investors have remained skeptical of Creighton's project.

Investing in cryptocurrencies and Initial Coin Offerings ("ICOs") is highly risky and speculative, and this article is not a recommendation by Investopedia or the writer to invest in cryptocurrencies or ICOs. Since each individual's situation is unique, a qualified professional should always be consulted before making any financial decisions. Investopedia makes no representations or warranties as to the accuracy or timeliness of the information contained herein. As of the date this article was written, the author owns bitcoin and ripple.