19 August 2017 1:10 pm
When Bitcoin first came on the scene in 2009, it proudly offered fast and inexpensive transactions for its users. In fact, this was one of the main selling points Bitcoin advocates used to promote the cryptocurrency. However, over time Bitcoin has become much more popular and the once speedy network is now congested and sluggish, struggling to keep pace with growing demand. Many Bitcoin users have been forced to turn to other cryptocurrencies such as Litecoin to carry out transactions and conduct business.
Not wanting to become “outdated”, the Bitcoin community understood that they had to implement changes in order to keep up with the demand for BTC. The only problem was the community could not agree on a single solution. Debate over various approaches began. Debate moved into argument and argument into full blown crypto war!
While cryptocurrency may be decentralized, it is not immune to politics or drama within the community. Two sides formed, arguing over how to lead Bitcoin into the future, while maintaining the original vision of the creator, Satoshi Nakamoto.
This war culminated on August 1st when there was a “fork” in Bitcoin resulting in a new currency. Now there is the original, Bitcoin (BTC) and the new currency Bitcoin Cash (BCH).
Anyone who held Bitcoin as of 12:20 UTC August 1st and has control of their private keys will own and be able to access an equal amount of BCH. Many companies and wallet providers have released statements regarding their position on BCH and instruction on how to claim your tokens. It is best to inquire with the service providers where your bitcoin is stored, as to the steps necessary to claim your BCH. Most wallets have a recovery phrase or “seed” which holds your private keys. These keys can then be inserted into a BCH wallet to access your Bitcoin Cash.
Even after this most recent fork, the drama for Bitcoin is not over. In fact, there could be a third fork on the horizon as the Bitcoin network looks to implement SegWit2x on August 21st. SegWit is a proposed code change to separate signature data from transaction identifier data, intended to speed up transactions. There is growing concern however, that Bitcoin Core will not accept the changes and a third Bitcoin will emerge, Bitcoin Core.
Bitcoin is taking a band aid approach to solving its various problems, this almost ensures an endless stream of arguments and chaos over the coming months and possibly years.
One bold project is looking to provide a one stop solution for Bitcoin, avoiding continuous squabbles about minor improvements. Bitcoin United proposes using a “pitch fork” instead of a hard fork. This involves pitching the old code and upgrading to something better able to handle the future transaction load. This upgrade, comes in the form of a quantum leap for Bitcoin, by hosting the new currency FBTC, on the super- fast BitShares platform. BitShares is built with Graphene technology, capable of reaching 100,000 transactions per second!
As the Bitcoin infighting continues, support for Bitcoin United may rise and people may begin demanding the release of “Fast Bitcoin”! This innovative solution may be exactly what Bitcoin needs to move forward.
While the future for Bitcoin remains unclear, and the fog of crypto war looms over the blockchain, we must keep a clear vision of what Bitcoin was meant to be, fast, inexpensive, decentralized and for the people.