Since its launch in 2009, Bitcoin has now generated more than 400 altcoin offshoots. Data from MapOfCoins shows that the world’s first cryptocurrency has now had 436 forks since going live over 11 years ago.
Despite its many derivatives, Bitcoin remains the undisputed market champion, controlling anything from 58 to 79 percent of the cryptocurrency market at any given time.
In the intervening 11 years, there have been sustained bear markets and contentious hard forks, but thus far there has only been one competitor that has even briefly threatened to give Bitcoin a run for its money.
Two years after Bitcoin went live, a hard fork called Namecoin hit the scene, marking the first of a flurry of hard forks.
Unlike Bitcoin, which existed to decentralize money, Namecoin existed primarily to decentralize identity management. Despite the divergence in purpose and use case, the relative success of Namecoin marked the first of Bitcoin’s numerous metaphorical children and grandchildren.