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Bitcoin Cash Civil War – The Entire Story

Bitcoin Cash is gearing up for a hard fork in less than 10 weeks as two of the most prominent voices in the community have disagreements over the future of the cryptocurrency. On one side of the table is Jihan Wu, Bitmain and some more miners who want to deploy the upgrade proposed by Bitcoin ABC. On the other side are Craig Wright, nChain and coingeek who has their own plan. As a result, we may be seeing a chain split of Bitcoin Cash as Bitcoin SV (Satoshi’s Vision) and Bitcoin ABC, the drama is taking new turns everyday. Here’s the full story:

It all started on August 20, after Bitcoin ABC, the most-used client for Bitcoin Cash nodes announced, scheduled November 15 hardfork will include the following update:

“A new opcode called OP_CHECKDATASIG that improves the BCH scripting language to permit the validation of messages from outside the blockchain.
The introduction of canonical transaction ordering. 
Several minor technical fixes and improvements.”

Bitcoin ABC v 0.18.0 Upgrade Notice

For the not-so-techy traders, this translates simply into two things which are being vehemently opposed. 

  • The op_checkdatasig will allow Smart contracts to be deployed on Bitcoin Cash including oracle services (prediction services).
  • Canonical transaction ordering will improve scaling of BCH network. Currently the transaction ordering is topological, meaning every child on network has to spend parent’s outputs, this takes up 70% more time in discovery for miners. 

Who’s Against Bitcoin ABC?

nChain’s Dr. Craig S Wright who claims to be Satoshi Nakamoto is against the upgrade citing that BCH should primarily be a payment protocol and should not be prioritising ‘non-cash’ transactions like smart contracts or oracles. 

Calvin Ayre, the CEO of Coingeek that controls roughly 35% BCH network hash rate, and some other miners don’t support canonical transaction ordering yet. Coingeek is also demanding increase in Block size to 128 mb.

Who’s with Bitcoin ABC?

Bitmain, led by Jihan Wu operates two BCH mining pools: BTC.com and Antpool, which collectively account for around 18% of the hashrate on the BCH network. With ViaBTC support, Bitmain would reach 31% support. With BTC.top, they could control as much as 34% of 35% of the hashrate according to sources all of them are in favour of the upgrade. 

Vitalik Buterin, the outspoken creator of Ethereum network has called for ostracising Craig Wright by comparing Craig’s version to now-defunct Bitconnect (BCC). 

“The BCH community should NOT compromise with Craig Wright to ‘avoid a split’ and should embrace it as an opportunity to conclusively ostracize and reject him. Bitcoin Craig (BCC) can go take the ticker symbol from the now-defunct cryptocurrency to which it is a fitting successor.”

Vitalik Buterin on Twitter

In the Middle, hoping for a truce

Despite the dispute between two camps that control over 70% of the network hashrate collectively, there are others who are hoping for a truce before the upgrade. Failing to compromise will lead to a chain split in November and only the chain with bigger support from other miners will survive. To avoid a chain split and in the interest of users, some players have come up with their own solutions.

Bitcoin Unlimited, currently the second largest node client used by BCH network after Bitcoin ABC has a proposed a ceasefire solution. Bitcoin Unlimited lead developer Andrew Stone submitted a proposal “BUIP098,” to implement changesheets of both Bitcoin ABC and Bitcoin SV and node operators can signal their desire for a compromise by switching to the Bitcoin Unlimited client. Features could then be activated on an individual basis according to either miner voting, emergent consensus, or user configuration. 

In short, the proposal is to move the node operators from Bitcoin ABC to Bitcoin unlimited and then have a vote on which features should be added to the November hardfork. 

One other truce proposal comes from an unlikely source. Bitcoin.org and Bitcointalk owner Cobra is launching what he calls a “safe and reliable” full node Bitcoin Cash implementation in an attempt to prevent the war. The new client will not implement any of the changes proposed above except for a replay protection, to safeguard transactions on Cobra client in case of a BCH chain split in November.

Cobra was originally a critic of Bitcoin Cash but has come out in support of the network in 2018. The pseudonymous owner claims to have support from a ‘major mining pool’ to secure 25% hashrate and a ‘major exchange’, willing to keep the ticker ‘BCH’ for Cobra client.

nChain Releases Bitcoin SV client

nChain on the other hand is ready for battle. The company has launched alpha version of Bitcoin SV(short for Satoshi’s vision) client. Along with it, the company announced a mining pool called SV pool. The miners will be onboarded in September.

The SV client will adhere to the original vision of Satoshi Nakamoto and Prioritise Bitcoin Cash as a Payment protocol. 

What remains to see is if SV pool, even with the backing of Coingeek, can bring in competing amount of full nodes compared to Bitcoin ABC that currently runs over 64% full nodes on BCH network. 

Where is Roger Ver?

Roger Ver, the owner or Bitcoin.com is largely affiliated to Bitcoin Cash. He has been relentlessly promoting Bitcoin Cash as the real Bitcoin and has taken a lot of flak from the community for the same. 

Ver is in the centre of it all with his Bitcoin.com BCH mining pool that control about 11% hash rate. A private meeting of the developers including Craig Wright held in Bangkok is reported to have been around how those with minor hash rates can fork BCH if they want to.

Ver though is disappointed with Craig Wright for leaving the meeting in the first half hour. Nothing else has been said or done, but I have a feeling we aren’t just done yet with the issue. 

Taking Digs at Each Other

Now, lets talk about what makes us Human. Ego. Well, a lot of things make us human but ego is one of the biggest sin. The only reason why there is still no compromise and if there will not be one for a long time is because of the inflated egos of those behind the network. You can see that happen on social media

  • Jihan Wu called Craig Wright ‘Fake Satoshi’ in a private chat.
  • Craig Wright has blocked Roger Ver as per a reddit reply from Ver. 
  • Craig Wright is unfollowing Bitcoin.com reporters. The site notoriously misleading people to believe Bitcoin Cash is the real Bitcoin.
  • Jihan Wu, Roger Ver now no longer follow Craig Wright. 
  • I honestly don’t think these social media update is necessary, so I’ll stop now. Hope you got the point though. 

To Summarise

If I were to summarise the entire issue in a couple statements this would be it. Bitcoin ABC, the most used client for Bitcoin Cash nodes has proposed changes to the protocol for the November Hard fork which stands rejected by Craig Wright, nchain and Coingeek but accepted by Jihan Wu and Bitmain. nChain has created a new Bitcoin SV client, Cobra has created a no-upgrade client called Cobra client, Bitcoin unlimited has created a BU client which includes both upgrades and Bitcoin ABC ofcourse is not backing down. If no truce takes place, on November 15, Bitcoin Cash will split in 4 chains and the one with highest support will hail a winner. Phew. 

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