The bitcoin gold (BTG) network activated on Sunday with the idealistic goal to “make bitcoin decentralized again” by blocking the use of ASIC miners, but several metrics indicate that it faces significant obstacles in its quest to fulfill that mission.
Though technically an altcoin, bitcoin gold is the latest cryptocurrency created by forking the bitcoin blockchain — rather than just its source code. Consequently, anyone who held bitcoin balances at the time of the blockchain “snapshot,” which was taken in late October, has received an equal number of bitcoin gold now that the network has launched.
If there was any doubt that one of these bitcoin forks could achieve viability, bitcoin cash has put it to rest. Last weekend, the bitcoin cash price surged to a new all-time high near $2,500, briefly enabling it to surpass ethereum in the market cap rankings. Its price has since declined by half, but this nevertheless represents a weekly gain of approximately 100% and provides it with a market cap in excess of $20 billion.
It is likely that bitcoin gold proponents will point this statistic in defense of its own decision to fork bitcoin. However, early signs indicate it has a more difficult road ahead than bitcoin cash did when it launched in August. Most significantly, there appears to be much less interest in bitcoin gold than there was in bitcoin cash ahead of its fork date, as measured by Google searches. Bitcoin gold did see a brief interest spike around the date of its blockchain snapshot, but interest declined leading into November as the network launch approached.
Of course, interest in both coins continues to be dwarfed by interest in bitcoin, which drew 20 times as many searches as bitcoin cash and 50 times as many as bitcoin gold during the past week. November 11 is the last date measured by the chart, so it is possible this week’s events will result in more attention for both bitcoin cash and bitcoin gold.
Unsurprisingly, the price of BTG futures saw significant buy pressure immediately prior to the network launch, eventually peaking near $500 on Saturday night. However, post-launch trading has been characterized by bitcoin holders dumping their airdropped coins for immediate revenue, which has reduced the bitcoin gold price to a current value of $272.
The majority of bitcoin services have yet to enable BTG withdrawals, so it remains to be seen whether users and traders will sell their holdings for a quick profit, retain the coins in case the cryptocurrency demonstrates viability over the long-term, or even take advantage of the relatively low price to purchase more.
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