Bitcoin Cash is a relative newcomer to the cryptocurrency scene, and yet has roots as old as Bitcoin itself. Frustrated with Bitcoin’s congested memory pool and rising transfer fees, ex-Google employee Amaury Séchet (aka ‘deadalnix’) of BitcoinABC created this new fork in record time in response to the impending – and difficult to reverse – release of segwit, successfully launching on 1st August 2017 as a viable alternative to the original coin. The major improvement was to return to the original vision of the bitcoin white paper by rejecting a complex and untested system of sidechains proposed by core developers in favour of simply expanding the data block size to cope with current commercial demand.
The new coin has found favour with many of the key players in the industry, with full implementations by BitcoinABC, BitcoinXT and Bitcoin Unlimited – and the now-defunct Bitcoin Classic – appearing at launch. In addition wallet versions capable of containing Bitcoin Cash (BCH) have been made available by the majority of sources including hardware wallet support by Ledger, Trezor, and KeepKey. All major and most minor exchanges now support Bitcoin Cash pairs.
At publishing time Bitcoin Cash holds the #3 spot in terms of market capitalization.
The Benefits of Bitcoin Cash
For anyone wanting to use their currency to purchase goods and services, Bitcoin Cash is clearly ahead in terms of usability. Original or classic Bitcoin (BTC) is still recognised as a good store of value – a “digital Gold” if you will – but leaves a lot to be desired due to fees that can run as high as £10.00 per transaction and long transmission delays. These attributes are hardly conducive to buying lunch with it, as a commonly quoted example.
Spending or sending Bitcoin Cash is a relatively painless experience, transactions going through to first confirmation in an average of five minutes and with fees in the sub-penny range. In addition, due to the concentration on the immediate commercial use and ongoing research funding into massive scaling, the usability of Bitcoin Cash is never likely to deteriorate to the levels currently “enjoyed” by Bitcoin users.
The Bitcoin world has had almost ten years to implement and disseminate commercial products and services. In comparison, Bitcoin Cash lags a little due to it being so new. The number one limitation is that exchanges have, in the main, failed to make available currency pairs that enable the end user to buy Bitcoin Cash directly with local (or fiat) currencies. By enabling people to buy directly from our ATMs we hope to remedy this to some degree.
Where is Bitcoin Cash Going Now?
The overarching vision by enthusiasts of this currency is a return to the days when Bitcoin was usable on a day-to-day basis, for purchases of real goods. One of the key attributes of a currency is that it must be readily spendable, which attribute has recently been missing from Bitcoin itself.
Many of the older applications that have in the past two years become difficult or impossible to viably maintain are now being dusted off and re-released into this new currency. Key amongst these is remittance of funds by itinerant and overseas workers to their extended families in poorer nations, a task which can be very costly through traditional means such as Western Union or made overly slow and complex via bank transfers.
As new applications present themselves, entrepreneurs will come forward to fill these needs, unhampered by artificial restrictions imposed by developers with a different vision for the future of cryptocurrencies, or by governments and bankers with a covert desire to stop this movement entirely.
The roadmap for BCH in early 2018 includes re-enabling some scripting op-codes which were disabled by the Bitcoin core developers, allowing advanced functionality no longer available in that coin, such as the generation of contracts in the style of Ethereum and much more.
After a hesitant start, yet one in which Bitcoin Cash has firmly established itself as a serious contender, it seems to have a very bright future. This episode of Patterson in Pursuit expands on the story of Bitcoin Cash for those with a thirst for more data.
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