Bitcoin gold was a hard fork of the original open source cryptocurrency which took place on October 24, 2017. While hard forks take place for a number of reasons – including for the purposes of scaling as a cryptocurrency customer base grows, or because of developer conflict and differences of goals – bitcoin gold's stated purpose has been to "make bitcoin decentralized again.
On the surface, the idea of "making bitcoin decentralized again" may seem counterintuitive. Bitcoin, like all other cryptocurrencies, is designed to be decentralized already; it is not linked with any central bank , particularly country, or government body.
One of the major issues with bitcoin which prompted the development of bitcoin gold, however, was not related to the question of central issuance at all. Rather, it had to do with the mining process. Bitcoin gold developers believed that by adopting a new algorithm for the mining process (in this case, a so-called prof-of-work algorithm called Equihash), the new branch of the world's most popular cryptocurrency by market cap would not disproportionally favor major mining operations.
Distribution, Protection, Transparency
Besides the goal of "re-decentralizing" bitcoin, bitcoin gold's developers were also focused on issues relating to distribution, protection, and transparency. "Hard forking bitcoin's blockchain fairly and efficiently distributes a new digital asset immediately to people all over the world who have interest in cryptocoins," the bitcoin gold website states.
In the world of virtual currencies, threats from hackers and other malicious entities are constantly a concern. For that reason, bitcoin gold took additional safety and protective measures from the time of its launch, in an effort to help secure its customers' accounts and coins. These include replay protection and unique wallet addresses. (See also: Can Bitcoin Be Hacked?)
The fact that bitcoin gold is "a free open-source software project that is built by volunteer developers and supported by a rapidly growing community of bitcoin enthusiasts that stretches around the globe" is also a draw for potential customers.