Following months of anticipation, the split of the bitcoin blockchain, known as “hard fork”, was finally initiated on Tuesday morning. Six hours after beginning bitcoin split, miners created a first block 478559 on the alternative blockchain, called Bitcoin Cash.
The block was mined by the Chinese mining pool ViaBTC, which also mined the second block 478560. The first Bitcoin Cash block had a size of 1915175 Bytes or 1.9 MB and contained 6,985 transactions. If compared, bitcoin block size is 1 MB, holding about 3,000 transactions. Overall, at the time of writing, eight blocks have been mined on the Bitcoin Cash blockchain.
After the first block was mined, the price of Bitcoin Cash surged to $422, demonstrating a 48% increase. However, it then decreased again and was valued at $383, according to CoinMarketCap. Meantime, the price of bitcoin seems to be unaffected by the split and at the moment of publication was hovering at around $2704.
“Bitcoin scaling has been a complicated issue for the past few years, so it’s nice to see forward progress, even the situation is a bit sloppy,” said ZenCash co-founder, Rob Viglione. “The downside of the split is that Bitcoin loses part of its ecosystem, and network effects are so important to this industry. That said, this isn’t zero-sum game and it’s more than possible to see both chains flourish in parallel.”
Kraken Exchange, which accounts for 10% of the total US bitcoin trading volume, as well as OKCoin, have added Bitcoin Cash to their platforms. Another cryptocurrency trading system CEX.io has also supported bitcoin split and will enable trading in both virtual currencies.
“Whether we will list Bitcoin Cash as a new trading pair depends on the demand,” said Eugene Kovalyk, CEX.io chief marketing officer. “If demand is big we should consider adding it definitely…No one should lose Bitcoin Cash on our platform.”
Still, not all exchanges will agree with the new fork. One of the most popular digital currency exchanges, Coinbase, said it can’t support Bitcoin Cash as it would require introducing serious changes to the system.
As we earlier reported, bitcoin holders who owned the digital currency before 12:20 UTC of August 1, 2017 will have the same amount of Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash after the split. However, those who stored the digital currency via third parties could have some problems with getting their Bitcoin Cash immediately.
Bitcoin Cash supporters believe that bitcoin split will improve its network by addressing some of its problems, like low transaction speed.
Ryan Taylor, Dash Core CEO, commented: “There are many misconceptions about Bitcoin Cash and what it represents. To be clear, Bitcoin is not forking. Rather, some developers have created a new digital currency and formulated an effective means of distributing it, by giving it to everyone with an existing Bitcoin balance.”
According to Taylor, Bitcoin Cash is unlikely to succeed in the long-term as there is still a number of issues exist.
“First, Bitcoin Cash has not solved scaling. It has merely kicked the can down the road with slightly larger blocks, but still lacks a credible technology to scale to massively larger number of users,” he said.
“Second, Bitcoin will retain the network of integrated services that make the Bitcoin network useful to businesses and consumers. With no substantial enhancements compared with Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash is unlikely to be integrated into those same services, given the substantial expense for businesses operating them to do so.”
Similarly, Aragon co-founder Luis Cuende, doesn’t think Bitcoin Cash will survive in the long run.
“Short term, I believe Bitcoin Cash will be around for some time, but in the long term, I don’t see Bitcoin Cash going anywhere. Probably a fatal bug will crash the whole network (it already happened with Bitcoin Unlimited, Cash’s predecessor) or people will just lose interest in a currency engineered to look decentralized while being totally centralized.”