Bitcoin Cash (BCH), the most successful bitcoin offshoot, split into two distinct entities on Friday, just over a year into its existence. With neither side of the contentious debate leading up to the hard fork willing to come to a compromise, two competing implementations of the protocol have now been activated. However, it’s unclear at this juncture which of the two will become the dominant software of the BCH network – or if two distinct chains will continue to co-exist in the long-term.
The new “hard fork” just happened on November 16 at around 2am Hong Kong time.
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One version is called Bitcoin ABC, favoured by Ver and Wu. One of the key features of this upgrade is to move bitcoin cash beyond money transfers to support smart contacts – digital agreements that execute automatically when certain conditions are satisfied. This is likely to pave the way for developers to build applications on top of the bitcoin cash network – something they can already do on other blockchains, such as ethereum.
The opposing faction is called Bitcoin SV, which stands for “Satoshi’s Vision” and is led by Wright, the self-proclaimed bitcoin creator. Wright argues bitcoin cash should be used solely as a form of “stable global money”, a true reflection of the ideals behind bitcoin’s foundation. He proposes to set the block size at 128 MB in order to scale the cryptocurrency.
In addition, after the hard fork, the blocks on the Bitcoin ABC chain started filling up with nonsensically small transactions. At the time of writing shortly after the fork, three such blocks had been mined with a total of more than 50,000 transactions worth less than 0.5 BCH total.
So, who will emerge victorious? It’s hard to say. Major exchanges and investors have widely viewed Bitcoin ABC as the more legitimate update. On Poloniex, a trading platform that is already listing both offerings, Bitcoin ABC is priced roughly three times higher than Bitcoin SV.