Bitcoin Cash (BCH), one of the most popular and controversial coins on the cryptomarket, appeared on 1 August 2017 as the result of a fork in Bitcoin. At the time of writing, it is ranked 4th in the ratings on CoinMarketCap and is trading near $800. Bitcoin Cash processes over 20 times more operations per second than Bitcoin. Despite this, the original cryptocurrency still surpasses its offspring in price sevenfold. Bitcoin’s long history has ensured its current dominance, but which coin will be the more successful one in one or two years?
- Bitcoin Cash was the first successful fork in Bitcoin, and it remains the only one to have survived and significantly rise in value.
Back in 2015, three alternatives to Bitcoin appeared: Bitcoin XT, Bitcoin Classic and Bitcoin Unlimited. They all crashed and burned. The chain first split in two on 1 August 2017, giving rise to Bitcoin Cash. It was followed by a flood of other forks. By January 2018 there had already been more than 40. The most famous bitcoins are the ones with the added words Gold, Diamond and Private. But even their capitalization is two times lower than that of Bitcoin Cash.
- Bitcoin Cash became famous thanks to its divisive sponsor and bigger-block supporter Roger Ver.
Ver is a former Bitcoin evangelist and owner of one of the largest Bitcoin wallets in the world. He has been pushing for an increase in the size of the blocks in the original blockchain since the days of Bitcoin Unlimited but has consistently been met with resistance. In the end, he betrayed the original Bitcoin for Bitcoin Cash. As a result, the man formerly known as Bitcoin Jesus is now often referred to as Bitcoin Judas.
- Roger Ver nearly stole Bitcoin.
The millionaire insisted that Bitcoin Cash is the true Bitcoin. He did this through different media, among them his own analytical resource, Bitcoin.com.
The situation reached a boiling point in late April when Bitcoin.com’s mobile Bitcoin Wallet started creating a wallet address for Bitcoin Cash instead of Bitcoin by default, leading inattentive newcomers astray.
There were other irregularities as well. The website mislabeled Bitcoin Cash as Bitcoin, while claiming that the original Bitcoin’s ticker – BTC – stands for Bitcoin Core (the name of one of Bitcoin’s development teams).
- Bitcoin Cash’s own hard fork of May 2018 brought it an increase in block size to a record 32mb, as well as smart contracts.
There are five teams of developers/node creators working on the coin: BitcoinXT, Bitcoin Unlimited, Bitprim, Parity and Bitcoin ABC. It was the latter that had the idea of making a fork in order to boost Bitcoin Cash’s competitive edge.
The developers brought back several transaction scripts (OP-codes) that Satoshi Nakamoto had removed from the protocol in 2010. Those codes will help incorporate smart contracts further down the line.
And one more upgrade will allow data to be embedded in the blockchain at a lower cost. The data carrier size has been increased from 80 bytes to 220, enabling the OP_RETURN function.
- Bitcoin Cash “is backed by a lot of money from China controlling its price and supporting its network. If you buy Bitcoin Cash, you are betting that China wants it to dominate,” said Willy Woo, rated one of the the top traders in 2017 by CoinDesk.
The Bitcoin ABC team is in close contact with Jihan Wu, co-founder of the ASIC manufacturer Bitmain, and with Haipo Yang, founder of the mining pool ViaBTC.
As it turns out, most of the hashrate in the network is concentrated into five pools: ViaBTC, Bitcoin.com, BTC.com, BTC.top and Antpool. Also, over 51% of the network is in the hands of three leaders who are connected to each other in one way or another. This tells us that the coin is considerably centralized.
By the way, BCH is mostly mined on Antminer S9/T9/S7, Ebit9 and Avalon6, all of which are made in China.
- Bitcoin Cash is popular among Ukrainian government officials.
Their income declarations for 2017 contained large crypto investments. The digital capital of the largest investor, Dmitri Palpatin, includes around 8,000 BCH.
- Bitcoin Cash inherited the hash calculation algorithm SHA-256 and its PoW (Proof-of-Work) consensus protocol.
Because of the technical similarities between Bitcoin Cash and Bitcoin, miners can switch their hashrate between them and earn more, creating strong competition between the two currencies.
BCH’s advantage is that its regulation of mining difficulty is more flexible. Its network adjusts the difficulty every 6 blocks, as opposed to Bitcoin’s 2016. This means that it adapts to fluctuations in hashrate more quickly.
- Over 40 cryptocurrency exchanges support Bitcoin Cash.
Among them are the leading platforms: Bittrex, Kraken, OKEx, Poloniex and Binance.
The Accept Bitcoin Cash initiative keeps a list of websites and places of commerce that accept the currency. There are almost 700 worldwide. For example, BCH can be used to rent apartments in Washington, pay for a spa in Dallas, order a limousine in Chicago and visit a barber shop in Oslo.
- Bitcoin Cash was created as a way to increase Bitcoin’s carrying capacity. This is why its main competitors are the updates made to the original: Lightning Network and SegWit.
The SegWit protocol was activated on Bitcoin on 24 August 2017. This update removed part of the data from the blockchain, freeing up space for transactions. By the end of that year, the capacity for each Bitcoin block rose to 4mb. In March, the Bitcoin transaction fee reached a record low: 1 satoshi (10^-8 BTC) per byte.
After integrating SegWit, it became expedient to incorporate the Lightning Network, a payment protocol that operates on top of a blockchain. Within the Lightning Network, small transactions are handled by smart contracts and are embedded in the blockchain only after verification. The protocol is slightly less secure than a blockchain, but it is capable of handling microtransactions even between different blockchains. With the Lightning Network, Bitcoin has the potential to process millions of transactions per second. This solution is currently undergoing beta testing.
- Bitcoin Cash is known for its pumps – sudden jumps in value that can be used to turn a decent profit.
The coin’s first pump took place on 19 August 2017, just two weeks after its creation. The boom had to do with the free duplication of coins at the fork. For the first time ever, people made money out of thin air – almost $7 million.
The next price surge happened on 10 November when the SegWit2x fork was abandoned. Over a two-day period, BCH soared from $600 to $2400. According to Fork.lol, the total hashrate of the Bitcoin Cash network briefly exceeded that of Bitcoin.
Between 18 and 20 December, Bitcoin Cash surged from $1900 to $4300, while its capitalization grew to $30, bumping Ethereum down from second place in the rankings of the top cryptocurrencies. This pump was blamed on Roger Ver and his insider trading prior to BCH’s listing on Coinbase. The coin’s price on that exchange reached a record $9500, after which trading was frozen.
These fluctuations were also affected by Bitcoin Cash’s fork in May. From 17 April to 6 May, its price rose from $750 to $1800. Since then Bitcoin Cash has been falling steadily but, as you have just observed, there are plenty of more surprises in store for us.