On November 15th (around 16:40 UTC), the Bitcoin Cash network experienced a hard fork in order to implement new upgrades. However, events leading to the hardfork have continued to suggest that the upgrade is indeed going to become a contentious and critical development in the Bitcoin Cash ecosystem.
The controversy surrounding the hard fork stems from the fact that the BCH ecosystem has not been able to reach a consensus on the future of the BCH blockchain. There is a divide which might lead to a split of the BCH network into multiple blockchains. And as the hard fork draws closer we can’t help but to presume that it will mark the beginning of a full-blown BCH intra-ecosystem war. First, let’s do a quick recap of the genesis of this chaos.
Bitcoin Cash: The Genesis of the Chaos
If you will recall, BCH came to be as a result of a hard fork of the Bitcoin blockchain in August 2017. The split was a result of a recurring debate on the scalability issue plaguing the Bitcoin network. BCH was introduced as a more improved version of the original Bitcoin blockchain as the block size limit was exponentially increased. And a year after the controversial hard fork, BCH has managed to stay relevant, though it is priced way below the value of Bitcoin.
At the core of the hard fork was Bitcoin ABC, a Bitcoin Cash client led by Amaury Séchet. Bitcoin ABC is known to implement new upgrades on the Bitcoin Cash blockchain every six months. And the forthcoming hard fork is one of such upgrades. In this particular hard fork, Bitcoin ABC is planning on introducing the Canonical Transaction Ordering (CTFOR) and an OP code dubbed OP_CHECKDATASIG (DSIV). The former is a system that inputs transactions into a block in a particular order while the latter will extend BCH’s present features. Bitcoin ABC believes that the new upgrades will help the BCH network prepare for future scalability solutions.
However, nChain, another faction (Bitcoin Cash client) has come out to propose an opposing upgrade that will reverse Bitcoin Cash’s functionality to mimic the original Bitcoin protocol released in 2009. nChain’s chief scientist, Craig Steven Wright, who claims he is Satoshi Nakamoto, has introduced a new software dubbed “Bitcoin Satoshi’s Vision” (Bitcoin SV) which will reverse Bitcoin Cash to the original Bitcoin blockchain. To achieve this, the new software will not support the CTOR, it will reduce the block sizes to 128mb, as well as, remove scripts size limit.
What Does The Future Hold For BCH?
At the moment, there is a clear divide in the network which threatens to start a hash war. Supporters of the two major factions have been entangled in a war of words which has escalated to a potential breakdown of the BCH ecosystem. Bitcoin ABC, which seems to have garnered more high profile supporters, has moved to silence its opposition. On the other hand, Bitcoin SV’s creator who seems to have the support of more BCH miners than ABC has threatened to do to all it takes (including a 51% attack on Bitcoin ABC’s chain) to ensure that his chain survives.
As the time for the hard fork draws near, there is an uncertainty on the future of BCH. We are, however, certain that the split of the blockchain into two chains will indeed kick-start a survival battle. And since the replay protection implemented by ABC has been nullified by Bitcoin SV, it is certain that exchanges will patiently wait for the outcome of this chaos before continuing to facilitate BCH trades.
In addition, supporters of ABC have reportedly recruited additional Bitcoin miners in order to increase their hashing power. This will likely affect the transaction time of the Bitcoin network, which might inadvertently affect the price of BTC. With both factions in the BCH dispute vowing not to hold back when it comes to the survival of their respective chains, the impending hard fork might just be the beginning of the BCH war.
Ifeanyi Egede is an experienced and versatile blockchain technology and cryptocurrency content writer and researcher with tons of published works both online and in the print media. He has helped several startup companies grow their businesses in the blockchain and cryptocurrency space. Ifeanyi has close to a decade of writing experience, and when he is not writing, he spends time with his lovely wife, Tega and adorable daughter, Chimamanda.