Bitcoin cash was launched on August 1 as a protest to Bitcoin Core’s implementation of segregated witness (Segwit) as a scaling solution. Claiming to be the true fulfillment of Satoshi Nakamoto’s vision for bitcoin as peer-to-peer electronic cash rather than a settlement layer, Bitcoin Cash instead chose to raise the block size from 1MB to 8MB, resulting in a hard fork that split the bitcoin blockchain into two different branches.
The hard fork was initiated with a 1.9MB block mined by ViaBTC, but for a while, most bitcoin cash blocks were smaller than those on the main bitcoin blockchain. Unsurprisingly, this gave opponents–who refer to it as Bcash to avoid associating it with bitcoin branding–plenty of comedic fodder.
However, that changed on August 16. Early that morning, the bitcoin cash network appeared to incur a spam attack, as the number of unconfirmed transactions soared from a few hundred to more than 80,000 within a matter of hours.
Within a short time, BitClub Network found an 8MB block that cleared 37,814 transactions. A few hours later, an unknown miner found a 4MB block. This was quickly followed by two more 4MB blocks and then one 4.8MB block.
Before long, miners had cleared the 80,000 transaction backlog and block sizes had returned to normal. For reference, the main bitcoin network currently has about 58,000 unconfirmed transactions.
Bitcoin cash supporters were ecstatic that an 8MB block was successfully found, believing it justified their split from the main bitcoin blockchain. However, one factor that some community members find concerning is that 91% of all BCH blocks have been found by an unknown miner (or miners).
Bitcoin blocks, on the other hand, are much more evenly distributed. In the past week, Antpool has found 18% of all blocks, the most of any mining pool.
Another current problem is that bitcoin cash remains much less profitable to mine than the main bitcoin blockchain. According to Coin Dance, BTC is about 81% more profitable to mine than BCH. However, this will change as the network difficulty continues to adjust downward. At present, its difficulty is 13% as great as the main chain’s.
Featured image from Shutterstock.