History of the Bitcoin Cash BCH cryptocurrency

June 07, 2018
Chris Wheal

Essentially, Bitcoin Cash is a modified cryptocurrency. Owners hold what are called Bitcoin Cash units and the symbol used to represent the currency is BCH (though at one time it was also denoted as BCC).  Bitcoin cash has its own website which you can visit at www.bitcoincash.org.

The origins of Bitcoin Cash go back to Spring 2017, when developers implemented a change to the bitcoin code. What was termed a ‘hard fork’ took place in August 2017 – this was when the bitcoin ledger (the blockchain) and the cryptocurrency split in two.

Fork in Bitcoin cryptocurrency

The fork took place in August 2017 when the bitcoin ledger and the cryptocurrency split in two. Credit: Shutterstock

Strictly speaking it was not produced from scratch but as a consequence of forking bitcoin. Why did it happen at all? Essentially, a group of cryptocurrency miners, who were frustrated with bitcoin’s technical limitations and lack of software updates, decided to act. By forcing a fork in the bitcoin blockchain, they effectively created a completely new currency known as Bitcoin Cash.

Significantly, anyone who held bitcoin before the fork had access to an equivalent amount of bitcoin cash units (BCH).

Reasons for the Bitcoin Cash fork

BCH was set up for a number of reasons – transaction speeds being one. As Bitcoin grew in popularity, its’ maximum 1MB data limit started causing blocks to pile up, which in turn extended the transaction times.

In fact, before the arrival of BCH, bitcoin transactions could take as long as four days to complete. To speed up the process, users could pay a transaction fee, which at the time was about $28.However this made bitcoin impractical for daily purchases of small sums – paying a fee of $28 for a $4 cup of coffee made no sense by anyone’s reckoning!

In contrast to Bitcoin’s 1MB limit, with Bitcoin Cash the block size was increased to 8MB. BCH claims to offer low fees, a reliable, uncongested, secure network, a stable payment system all underpinned by sturdy blockchain technology.

As with most cryptocurrencies, BCH is fully decentralised, with no central bank and requires no trusted third parties to operate. If Bitcoins were stored by a third-party exchange, then they would be the point of contact for cash access.

Market value of Bitcoin Cash (BCH)

In terms of growth and development, soon after launch in summer 2017 BCH figured amongst the top five currencies on the crypto market. Like most cryptocurrencies its valuation has fluctuated in what is by nature a volatile market.

Worth $399 at launch, BCH price peaked in December 2017 when it hit $3,708.9 before falling sharply in value during the early part of 2018 – the low point being $611.25 in early April. However, it had bounced back to over $1,500 by early May 2018.

By its third day in existence, Bitcoin Cash was the third cryptocurrency behind Bitcoin and Ethereum in terms of market capitalisation. BCH’s market cap currently (at 15 May 2018) stands at over $24bn.

The currency’s supply limit is 21 million BCH. Both Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash use the same hashing algorithm: SHA-256. Because of this, many miners mine both the cryptocurrencies.

Bitcoin Cash versus Bitcoin

Can BCH comfortably co-exist with Bitcoin? Credit: Shutterstock

Future of Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash

Is there a long-term future for both Bitcoin and Bitcoin cash? It is conceivable that Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash could comfortably co-exist – essentially playing different roles with Bitcoin acting like a commodity such as gold – and Bitcoin Cash acting like PayPal.

Some however believe it is BCH that is in the ascendency. High profile US investor and an early advocate of Bitcoin, Roger Ver, recently referred to Bitcoin Cash as the “the real Bitcoin”’ predicting that before long BCH would have a bigger market capitalisation, trade volumes and user base than Bitcoin.

It is believed Ver currently holds the bulk of his cryptocurrency funds in Bitcoin Cash, proof, if it were needed, of his bullish stance on BCH.

The likes of Bitcoin, Ethereum, Ripple, Monero, Bitshares etc all use similar but different technology, and they will try and differentiate themselves in terms of what they offer. For instance, Monero has built a reputation for offering greater anonymity than other cryptos. Ripple on the other hand, like Bitcoin Cash, sells itself on transactional speed and reliability. Ethereum focuses on the technical side of blockchain development, including native tokens, smart contracts, and decentralised applications.

There are inevitably doubts whether the vast number of cryptocurrencies will survive over the longer term. It becomes harder to differentiate yourself as a crypto the more crowded a market is and future technological advancements and security levels may sort the also-rans from the leaders. Still an unregulated market, changes in this regard could radically reshape the cryptocurrency market too.

Cryptocurrency of choice?

Is there anything unique about Bitcoin Cash? In such a crowded cryptos market, it is hard to make a claim to being ‘unique’. In the world of virtual currencies, the emphasis is more on being the crypto of choice and growing and developing as a consequence.

The lead developer of Bitcoin Cash was, Amaury Sechét. Formerly of Facebook, Sechét gave up his role at the social media giant to focus entirely on the development of what was to become known as BCH.

In addition to Roger Ver, already mentioned, other leading names who were quick to support BCH’s development include Gavin Anderson, a software developer best known for his involvement with the development of Bitcoin, John McAfee founder of McAfee anti-virus software and Jihan Wu, owner and founder of Bitmain Technologies.

What people say about BCH

“As Ethereum (ETH) doesn’t necessarily have a fixed supply, it raises questions as to the value of the currency, compared to Bitcoin Cash, which does have a fixed supply just like Bitcoin.” Maxwell Arnold co-author of the crypto Laser whitepaper.

“Bitcoin Cash is set to quadruple its block size, from 8MB to 32MB — delivering transaction capacity far in excess of what it requires to meet its network demand. So nine months on from its hard fork of Bitcoin, has Bitcoin Cash done what it set out to do — and where does it go from here?” Akbar Thobhani – CEO of cryptocurrency broker-dealer SFOX

At a glance

  • January 2009 – Bitcoin network comes into existence
  • December 2010 – Namecoin first fork of Bitcoin
  • October 2011 – Litecoin is the next spin-off from Bitcoin
  • June 2017 Bitcoin Cash protocol called Bitcoin ABC revealed by Amaury Séchet at the Future of Bitcoin conference in Arnhem, Holland
  • August 2017 – Bitcoin Cash hard fork – launch price
  • December 2017 Bitcoin Cash peaks at $3,708.9
  • April 2018 – Bitcoin Cash value falls down to $611
  • April 2018 – Bitcoin quickly recovers – more than doubling in value within the month
Post written by Chris Wheal
Chris Wheal is editor of OpenLedger's news and features service. An award-wining business journalists himself, he runs a team of freelance journalists from across the UK and north America.

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