Blockchain’s Big Split: Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash

The split of the Bitcoin blockchain has begun and Bitcoin Cash, a new cryptocurrency, was created when a group of miners “forked” from the main Bitcoin blockchain.

In order to create the competing cryptocurrency, the miners began operating a different software and succeeded in officially branching off at around 8:20 a.m. ET, August 1 when they started adding blocks to the separate blockchain.

At about 2:14 p.m. ET, August 1 ViaBTC mined the first Bitcoin Cash block, which came in at a block size of 1.915 MB. That block contained 6,985 transactions, according to public data. Since then, four Bitcoin Cash blocks have been created, though only the first of the initial five had a block larger than 1 MB. By comparison, the most recent block to the publishing date contained 520 transactions, using about 0.4 MB of space in the transaction block.

During the development process, given the relatively small amount of miners running the new software, and the fact that the software carried over with it the same difficulty that regulates how easy it is to find blocks based on the number of miners, Bitcoin Cash struggled to keep up with the main Bitcoin network, which quickly grew in size.

Bitcoin Cash intends to activate new rules that are at odds with the Bitcoin network, aiming to boost transaction capacity by increasing the block size to 8MB and removing Segregated Witness (SegWit), a long-debated code optimization that is likely to activate on Bitcoin later in August.

In addition, the exchanges that accept Bitcoin Cash deposits first will have a lot of activity, and that initial trading will likely cause some significant price volatility due to reduced liquidity.

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