What Is Bitcoin Cash?
Bitcoin Cash (BCH) is a hard fork (a community-activated update to the protocol or code) of the original Bitcoin blockchain. The fork of Bitcoin took place on Aug. 1, 2017, with the purpose of updating the block size to 8MB. On Nov. 16, 2018, BCH was hard forked for a second time and split into Bitcoin SV (Satoshi’s Vision) and Bitcoin ABC. Bitcoin ABC became the dominant chain and took over the BCH ticker, as it had more hashpower and the majority of nodes in the network.
Bitcoin Cash had its most recent halving on April 8, 2020, when its block reward was reduced to 6.25, instead of 12.5.
What Is the Difference Between Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash?
Bitcoin Cash’s increased block size aimed to make the technology more scalable and process more transactions per second, supporting the use of the cryptocurrency as a means of payment, rather than a store of value. As a rule, Bitcoin Cash transaction fees are generally lower than those of Bitcoin.
The Bitcoin Cash fork was due in part to an argument between Bitcoin factions about whether the cryptocurrency needed to increase its block size. This argument is based on the idea that Bitcoin’s transaction processing time is too slow to ever allow for the scaling needed to replace traditional payment systems like Visa and Mastercard. While Bitcoin blocks are 1MB and can process between 2-7 transactions per second, Visa can process around 1,700 transactions per second.
The 2017 hard fork over block size was contentious, and came about following the introduction of the idea of SegWit2x, a second-layer scaling solution. A portion of Bitcoin miners and developers were opposed to the solution because they A. thought it could cause the centralization of the Bitcoin network B. did not have a clear implementation plan and C. did not adhere to Satoshi Nakomoto’s original vision for the digital currency (in their opinion).
Mining hardware manufacturer Bitmain originally described the fork of Bitcoin in June 2017 as a “contingency plan” if SegWit was accepted due to the inability of Bitcoin developers and miners to unanimously agree over its implementation. Eventually, due to the ongoing rift, the SegWit2x opposers (led by vocal opponent Roger Ver) banded together to split the Bitcoin blockchain in August 2017.
How do I buy cryptocurrency?
While some cryptocurrencies, including bitcoin, are available for purchase with U.S. dollars, others require that you pay with bitcoin or another cryptocurrency.
To buy cryptocurrencies, you’ll need a “wallet,” an online app that can hold your currency. Generally, you create an account on an exchange, and then you can transfer real money to buy cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin or ethereum.
Coinbase is one popular cryptocurrency trading exchange where you can create both a wallet and buy and sell bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.