Bitcoin cash proponent Craig Wright says that the idea that bitcoin and bitcoin cash are fighting a civil war is “ludicrous” because the main blockchain has abandoned the original vision for the cryptocurrency to serve as electronic cash.
Last weekend’s surprising bitcoin cash price rally demonstrated for the first time that the cryptocurrency, which was created in August by forking the bitcoin blockchain, may present a credible threat to bitcoin’s dominant market share. After watching bitcoin cash surge from $600 to $2,500 in a matter of days, many observers — including cybersecurity pioneer John McAfee — declared that the bitcoin community had descended into civil war.
However, Craig Wright, a prolific academic and social media provocateur who is perhaps best known for his still-unconfirmed claim that he is Bitcoin creator Satoshi Nakamoto, argued on Twitter that bitcoin and bitcoin cash are not at war because the two cryptocurrencies have fundamentally different philosophical missions. “BCH is a cash based payment system. BTC have discarded payments for whatever they plan,” he wrote. “BCH remains true to the original vision as BTC seeks to try something else”.
Though at one point some bitcoin cash adherents had seemed content to describe the cryptocurrency as an altcoin, leading personalities — Wright included — have pooled their influence to make a renewed push to characterize it as the “true Bitcoin”.
Early bitcoin evangelist Roger Ver, for instance, has teamed up with billionaire entrepreneur Calvin Ayre to launch a “Bitcoin cash is bitcoin” campaign. Both men operate crypto news outlets, and Ver’s Bitcoin.com is one of the highest-ranking websites in Google searches for “bitcoin”. Ayre, incidentally, has reportedly provided Craig Wright with financial backing in the past.
This campaign has intensified in the wake of the cancellation of SegWit2x, the controversial scaling upgrade that would have increased the nominal bitcoin blocksize to ease network congestion and reduce transaction fees. Opponents of SegWit2x argue that bitcoin’s utility as a store of value should be its chief priority, and they claime that on-chain scaling will render it less resistant to censorship. Cash supporters, on the other hand, claim that bitcoin’s use as a currency bears equal importance.
Gavin Andresen, who formerly served as lead developer of Bitcoin, threw his support behind this latter view over the weekend, tweeting that “Bitcoin Cash is what I started working on in 2010: a store of value AND means of exchange.”
But while some individuals on both sides continue to deny that bitcoin and bitcoin cash are engaged in a zero-sum conflict, the markets appear to be treating it as such. Since the weekend, when the bitcoin cash price quadrupled to near $2,500 before plunging back to $1,300, the values of the two cryptocurrencies have appeared inversely correlated. It remains to be seen whether the two coins can develop separate, complementary ecosystems. If not, this phenomenon may continue indefinitely as the two factions jockey to position themselves as the rightful heirs to the “Bitcoin” brand.