The block size debate has been going on for a long time in the virtual currency space.
The basic gist of it is that the size of blocks in the blockchain was making it difficult for the network to handle a large variety of transactions. The block size limit of 1 MB simply couldn't process that many transactions, leading to big slowdowns.
As the bitcoin community struggled to find an answer to this conundrum, many proposed new bitcoin protocols that could handle increased block sizes, but the community couldn't agree on a good solution, until recently.
Last month, bitcoin cash launched, with a 8MB block size increase.
"Anyone who held bitcoin at the time Bitcoin Cash was created became owners of Bitcoin Cash. This means that bitcoin holders as of block 478558 (August 1st, 2017 about 13:16 UTC) have the same amount of Bitcoin Cash as they had bitcoin at that time," according to the Bitcoin Cash website. "Any transactions after the August 1st ledger split are completely separate between Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash. This means any bitcoin acquired after the split does not include any Bitcoin Cash, and any Bitcoin Cash does not include any bitcoin."
Essentially, this means that only users on that date gained Bitcoin Cash. This makes Bitcoin Cash an altcoin that exists side by side with bitcoin.
"Bitcoin Cash is certainly hard to ignore, especially given that it's in the list of top three crypto currencies based on market cap," Michael Vogel, CEO and founder of goNetcoins, said in an interview with Blockchain Tech News. "Netcoins doesn't yet offer BCH directly, however as with any alt coin, customers can easily convert using a service like Bittrex. Typically we add services based on customer feedback,"
Competitors or one solution?
As of September 14, Bitcoin Cash's value is sitting right at $415.07 per coin. Bitcoin's value meanwhile is at $3,312.92, a significant drop from last week, likely attributed to the closing of bitcoin exchange BTCCChina.
This brings up a lot of questions regarding the future of Bitcoin Cash and bitcoin. Since Bitcoin Cash's value is not even half that of bitcoin, it can be difficult to see a scenario where it catches up. However, currently Bitcoin Cash is the second most valuable virtual currency in the market, followed by Ethereum. We also have seen how quickly a virtual currency can explode, with bitcoin's recent surge in value.
"Bitcoin price has not significantly been affected by the creation of Bitcoin Cash, so perhaps the two currencies will flourish and serve their respective markets," Vogel said.
Will the fork fight continue?
Several companies have had ambivalent attitudes towards Bitcoin Cash. At first, Coinbase, a virtual currency exchange, claimed it wouldn't support Bitcoin Cash, but later changed its mind, while still adding it would not enable trading until a later time.
"I don't think scaling debates will ever be over for in the crypto-currency world. Much like how the Internet's infrastructure has had choke-points over its history (think of all the media streaming that wasn't possible even 10-15 years ago), yet the Internet has scaled to overcome these challenges," Vogel said. "The scaling debates of 2017 have been extremely heated, intense, and political."
That being said, Vogel sees this sort of debate as a good thing for the market.
"There is something to say for free markets," he said. "This is the beautiful thing about cryptocurrency: the barrier to entry is relatively low, which gives users plenty of options to pick the solution that they want to use."
Bradley Cooper is a Technology Editor for DigitalSignageToday.com. His background is in information technology, advertising, and writing.
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