Recently, there has been a big shake up in the Bitcoin world concerning how Bitcoin transactions can be more efficient. A segment of the community has decided to create their own version of Bitcoin. If you are unfamiliar with Bitcoin, blockchain, and terms like hardfork and softfork, this article probably is not for you. 😬
There are basically two types of people in the Bitcoin world 🌎— big blockers and small blockers (well, and those who just don’t care). Each have different opinions on how Bitcoin can scale better. Today’s Bitcoin can handle seven transactions per second compared to Visa’s 56,000 transactions per second.
Big blockers (Bitcoin Cash supporters) believe in Satoshi’s original roadmap of increasing block sizes as needed. A block size update of more than 1MB (current size) requires a change in Bitcoin’s rules, resulting in a hardfork (non-backward compatible update). Essentially, the hardfork is a clone of Bitcoin, but uses a different set of rules.
History of Bitcoin block sizes: 5KB > 10KB > 100KB > 0.2MB > 0.5MB > 0.8MB > 1MB.
Big blockers and small blockers disagree on how Bitcoin transactions can be more scalable, and have decided to run seperate versions of Bitcoin.
Though it was not a big deal in the past to update block sizes, Bitcoin’s growing popularity makes it a much bigger deal now. The hardfork would require users to update their Bitcoin client in order to operate on the network, jeopardizing Bitcoin’s adoption and user experience. The two parties disagreed on the scaling approach, so they decided to split ways. As a result, a hardfork was executed and Bitcoin Cash was created.
Example: Apple 🍎 releases a iOS update with new emojis 📲 — You try to send your mom a text with one of the new emojis. 💁 Your mom has not udpated her iOS, so she cannot view the new emoji.📵
Small blockers (Bitcoin supporters, or those who oppose Bitcoin Cash), prefer to keep the 1MB block-size limit rather than increase it. Thus, avoiding a hardfork. Small block supporters propose to update the code with Segregated Witness (Segwit) so transactions are smaller, allowing for higher transaction volume (and eventually providing the possiblity of implementing lower costs and faster transactions using Lightning Network). It is not a matter of “if”, but rather “how” scaling can be achieved. Segwit is widely considered the best near term solution to avoid a hardfork and is supported by majority of the Bitcoin developers.
As of August 1, 2017 — Bitcoin has officially forked. A snapshot of the blockchain was recorded, and a 1:1 BTC:BCC ratio was “airdropped” for anyone with their Bitcoin private key to claim their Bitcoin Cash. Bitcoin Cash (BCH, BCC) is currently trading on major exchanges like Bittrex and Bitfinex.
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