What is Bitcoin Cash?
So, what is it? And how does it differ from bitcoin?
There are two main changes of note:
- It increases the block size to 8 MB.
- It removes SegWit, a code change that might activate on the bitcoin blockchain by the end of August.
Some, including a few of the project’s supporters, call Bitcoin Cash an “altcoin,” a term that usually denotes a fork of the software that creates a new cryptocurrency, with its own market.
Indeed, the cryptocurrency is currently trading at $461, meaning it’s worth about 18% of bitcoin’s current price of $2,568, in an already-open futures market.
Unlike other altcoins, though, Bitcoin Cash’s transaction history would be the same as bitcoin’s – at least up until the point of the split. So, if and when Bitcoin Cash splits off, users would have bitcoin on both blockchains.
Another difference is the project says it will support multiple implementations of its software, a move that’s not surprising given the criticism that Bitcoin Core’s software is too dominant on the bitcoin network.
BitcoinABC is the first software to implement the Bitcoin Cash protocol, but the goal is for there to be many implementations.
Culianu said that both Bitcoin Unlimited and Bitcoin Classic, other implementations that aim to increase bitcoin’s block size, are working on a version compatible with Bitcoin Cash.
These might or might not be ready for August 1.
So far, most bitcoin companies, mining pools, users and bitcoin developers seem uninterested in the effort. Yet, there are some eager supporters.
Beijing-based mining firm ViaBTC, which boasts roughly 4% of bitcoin’s computing power, is the clear ringleader.
The firm, which also operates an exchange, has become the first to list the cryptocurrency and also has plans to launch a new mining pool dedicated solely to Bitcoin Cash. (Though, so far, it’s not clear how much of its 4% mining hashrate it will commit to the effort.)
Asked if he believed Segwit2x would fulfill its roadmap, CEO Haipo Yang responded: “I doubt it.”
Further, Bitcoin Cash has attracted support from some users who want a block size increase, as well as developers of other proposals such as Bitcoin Classic and Bitcoin Unlimited.
What might be more surprising, though, is who’s not involved.
Even former supporters, including mining firms Bitcoin.com and Bitmain, seem hesitant to back the effort. For now, they remain committed to controversial scaling proposal Segwit2x.
Mining company Bitmain even inspired Bitcoin Cash. Yet, the firm said that they only planned on going through with making the switch under certain conditions. Still, the firm might support both Segwit2x and Bitcoin Cash in the future.
In a PSA statement, Bitcoin.com said that it will allow miners in its pool to choose if they want to mine the Bitcoin Cash token BCC.
For now, though, it will mine on Segwit2x chain, though it said it “will immediately shift all company resources to supporting Bitcoin Cash exclusively” if the block size increase part of SegWit, scheduled for roughly three months from now, falls through.