The Bitcoin Cash network has scheduled a software upgrade. If there aren’t enough stakeholders who support the software upgrade, a separate blockchain (and a new cryptocurrency) could be formed. When this happens, it’s called a hard fork–a divergence that results in a split. A fork is just another way to say ‘software upgrade’; when a fork doesn’t result in the formation of two separate chains, it’s called a ‘soft fork.’ Bitcoin Cash has undergone at least one soft fork in the past.
This time around, the proposed fork involves a ‘pre-consensus’ protocol. The developer responsible for creating the upgrade, Amaury Sechet, describes this protocol as “a set of technologies allowing network participants to agree as much as possible on what the next block is going to look like.”
The pre-consensus protocol has been the subject of hot debate ever since Sechet posted plans describing the fork in July. Beijing-based mining giant Bitmain has said that it supports the fork, which many consider to be the ‘magic bullet’ to implement the software upgrade without the formation of a new chain.
What does this mean for the future of Bitcoin Cash?
Hot Debate Over the Future of BCH
A number of other prominent and controversial figures in the crypto community have spoken out vehemently against the proposed upgrade. Craig S. Wright, the self-proclaimed Satoshi Nakamoto (creator of Bitcoin), has expressed major displeasure with Bitcoin ABC’s Wormhole Partnership with Bitmain. Bitcoin ABC is the group of developers responsible for creating Bitcoin Cash.
A 1% miner who (as ABC wants to do) tries to change the protocol is the attacker.
The dishonest miner is the one seeking to alter the rules or allow them to be altered.
That is Bitcoin.
A 51% attack requires changing the rules – or it is not an attack.
The Wormhole Partnership granted Bitmain the power to burn BCH tokens to create scarcity on the network, a practice that is supposed to maintain the value of the digital currency. Wright has spoken out against the partnership, and released his own whitepaper in response to the collaboration that proposes (among other things) a 128mb block size for BCH.
A Hard Fork Could Negatively Impact Businesses Who Rely on the BCH Ledger
Of course, the company denied Wu’s accusations. However, Jerry Chan, Head of Department at SBI Crypto Solutions, pointed out that a split wouldn’t bode well for cryptocurrency as it pertains to use within businesses and institutions. SBI Crypto Solutions is the cryptocurrency department of SBI Holdings.
“As a main proponent of the business community which is involved in many blockchain development projects, the biggest risk in using a public blockchain is the ability of the ledger to split beyond the control of the users of the system to prevent,” Chan told Finance Magnates. “At the end of the day, the reason to honor the longest sustained proof of work chain is stemming from the desire to maintain just 1 BCH chain.”
The risk of a hard fork “makes using the blockchain for long term contracts untenable due to the fact that ledger splits will cause much legal issues for those who have contracts on the ledger. Therefore in order for businesses to use public ledgers for their applications (more than just simple payments) we require a modicum of assurance that the chain will not split permanently after we start using it as our public shared record of contracts and trades.”
Therefore, Chan believes that the formation of a new chain is not in the best interest of the Bitcoin Cash community at large. “The only way this can be assured is if we as a community always and only support the chain with the longest and most sustained proof of work applied to it. (sustained as to exclude temporary chain re-organizations caused by proponents ‘buying’ or ‘borrowing’ hashpower from BTC mining in order to change the BCH chain. This will not be further necessary after BTC mining is a minority as compared to BCH).”
At the same time, however, Chan acknowledged that Bitcoin Cash is in need of changes that would make it more usable. “We believe Bitcoin Cash must scale to global payment levels in order to be successful,” he said. “We also believe that a crypto currency is meant to be USED and not just held, for the velocity of money is a big part of its value proposition.”
The Irony of Bitcoin Cash’s Origins
Bitcoin Cash itself came into being as the result of a hard fork from the Bitcoin blockchain. There was a serious debate in the Bitcoin community about Bitcoin’s functionality.
Those who believed that Bitcoin was a sort of ‘digital gold’ (meaning an investment to hold onto for longer periods of time) did not want to increase its scalability. Those who saw Bitcoin as ‘digital cash’ (meaning a tool for transacting quickly and regularly), well, did. There were still others who wanted to increase Bitcoin’s transaction capabilities, but disagreed with how the proposed software upgrade was going to do it.
In the end, there weren’t enough supporters of the software upgrade to implement it onto the existing Bitcoin network. Thus, Bitcoin Cash was formed. With it came a group of supporters who claimed it was ‘the real Bitcoin’, and confusion ensued–but that’s another story for another time.
Will a Hard Fork Actually Happen?
The irony that BCH may be facing a hard fork hasn’t been lost on the crypto community at large.
Roger Ver, the ‘Bitcoin Jesus’ turned ‘Bitcoin Judas’, was one of the loudest voices supporting the software upgrade that resulted in the creation of Bitcoin Cash. He is also one of the leaders of the ‘BCH is the real Bitcoin’ movement. For now, Ver still hasn’t announced which side of the camp he’s on–however, he has publicly stated that both sides of the community should respect the freedoms of their opponents, even if a hard fork does take place.
“If it wasn’t for those people willing to dissent with the minority hash rate, Bitcoin Cash would never exist,” he said on Bitcoin Cash News. He also told Bloomberg he doesn’t believe that the ideological split in the community is big enough to actually happen.
Joey King, software developer at Bitcoin.com, echoed Ver’s statements. Bitcoin.com isa company that provides Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash services; Ver is the company’s CEO. “I don’t think a split is likely,” King told Finance Magnates.” When you look at the run up to the original Bitcoin Cash fork in August of 2017, you see that both camps spent years negotiating and jockeying for position. When the fork finally happened, it came as a surprise even to industry veterans and insiders.”
King added that the relatively high amount of media coverage on the fork may have allowed some preventative actions to be taken: “now we have multiple sides loudly proclaiming their intentions to fork. Noise about a split offers leverage. When the intention is to fork, secrecy prevails.”
The Show Must Go On
Even if a hard fork is ultimately unlikely, a growing number of companies are behaving as though it may happen. More and more cryptocurrency exchanges have published plans for a post-hard fork scenario; CoinEx posted an announcement that “Should [the hard fork] happen, all Bitcoin Cash holders will then receive BSV assets against a 1:1 ratio on your BCH assets.” BSV is the new currency that will form if the hard fork takes place.
Despite the fact that Bitcoin Cash has stayed within the top 10 in terms of coins with the largest market caps since its 2017 origin, it is still a young network–one that is bound for change. This is the first serious test of BCH’ mettle; the way that the network (and its community) handle the upcoming fork will determine its future forever.
With Ethereum’s launch in 2015 came a flurry of excitement over the future potential of smart contracts.
Utilizing a more flexible scripting language than Bitcoin, the platform’s decentralized applications (DApps) were touted by proponents as unlocking a plethora of formerly untapped use cases for the blockchain. From tokenized assets and blockchain-based legal contracts to healthcare records and supply chain tracking, DApps are going to remold traditional industries in their image, solve bottlenecks and revolutionize enterprise inefficiencies out of existence.
More than three years later, and we’re still waiting for the revolution.
The Hard Truth of Modern DApp Use
Taken in sum, Ethereum’s top 10 smart contract addresses account for just over 29 million transactions. Sounds substantial, as though the network is cracking on toward mainstream adoption, yeah?
The reality: this transaction volume went to DApps that are used for token sales, decentralized exchanges and trading digital kittens.
This is according to research by SFOX, a cryptocurrency prime dealer for high net worth individuals with backing from the likes of the Digital Currency Group and Blockchain Capital. The data was compiled on behalf of SFOX’s clients, the firm told Bitcoin Magazine, as it “regularly reviews the usage of blockchains of the crypto assets [it] supports.”
Using Jupyter Notebook to pull data from Google’s public dataset for Ethereum, the firm compiled a list of the most popular Ethereum smart contract addresses to see which DApps were gaining traction among the community.
The results are in line with a common qualm amongst the community’s more discerning and critical voices, namely that DApps are used for little more than token speculation and exchange. Out of the 10 smart contracts that merited SFOX’s attention, only one was a tokenized use case that wasn’t either an exchange or an ICO contract.
In fact, the two most popular DApps were decentralized exchange (DEX) contracts for Ether Delta (now known as Forked Delta) and IDEX, respectively. As this data shows, the two DEXs are go-to hubs to trade ether and ERC-20 tokens, the most common token standard for minting assets on the Ethereum blockchain. Ether Delta has accounted for 10,354,398 transactions since its inception, while IDEX clocks in at 4,590,376.
In a show of irony, the third most popular smart contract was used to fund Ethereum’s leading competitor, EOS. Before launching its mainnet in June 2018, smart contract platform EOS held a continuous token sale, a year-long ICO that drew in billions in funding through 2,952,885 transactions. Two other Ethereum-based ICOs, Tron and OmiseGo, also made the list with 1,967,331 and 1,350,274 transactions, placing the cryptocurrency platforms at fifth and tenth, respectively.
The only smart contract on the list that doesn’t involve speculating or supporting exchange infrastructure comes in the form of what some have called “digital Beanie Babies.” Depending on the angle you take, even these could be considered a vessel for investment. CryptoKitties, a blockchain-based game for trading, breeding and collecting digital cats, has seen 2,568,983 transactions since it launched last November.
Built on the ERC-721 standard for non-fungible assets, each kitty is unique and sports its own distinct traits. The game grabbed headlines in the weeks following its release last year as enthusiasm for the pixilated felines drove prices for some of the rarer kitties to tens of thousands of dollars. This frenzied-demand clogged the Ethereum network, driving up transaction times and costs.
The Inroads of Speculation and Innovation
The only other notable smart contract that made SFOX’s list comes from Bitcoinereum, the self-proclaimed “first bitcoin mineable ERC-20 token,” ringing up 1,451,763 transactions by paying out mining rewards through the token’s smart contract. As for the rest, Bittrex’s and Poloniex’s wallet reserves for managing and trading ether and tokens account for more than 5 million shared transactions.
Of course, Ethereum DApps aren’t the only DApps in use today. EOS has emerged as a powerful rival, and, depending on the day, the platform surpasses Ethereum in transaction volume and users.
Still, the use cases on EOS are the same. If they’re not being used for exchange, EOS tokens are used to power smart contract-enabled games or gambling, two gaming applications it shares with its number one competitor Ethereum.
Even if they do feed gambling habits and fuel speculation, these gaming DApps are fine use cases in their own right. In correspondence with Bitcoin Magazine, SFOX CEO Akbar Thobhani believes that “CryptoKitties is doing a great job, and it’s clear that they continue to have traction.”
But the technology is still very much in its infancy, and the smart contracts being used today are a far cry from the ones that optimistic futurists say will underwrite loans, settle legal contracts and tokenize anything from equities to personal data. As Thobhani put it, “It’s hard to say anything especially conclusive about broader DApp adoption” from the sample size, even if it did represent the most-used DApps to date.
These baby steps are the preliminary amblings of an ambitious technology that’s still learning to walk. But they are steps. Day to day, smart contracts and DApps are still functioning for their intended use cases, no matter how niche or inconsequential these uses may be. They’re laying a foundation for a future that may be a long time coming as the space grows up, as developers will have plenty of pain points to address, including smart contract security holes and scalability headaches, before smart contracts become consumer and enterprise grade for a mainstream audience.
So until that future comes, token-curated craps shooting and packs of digital cats will have to do for now.
CMC Markets, one of the big players in the retail trading space, announced on Monday that it has expanded its cryptocurrency spread betting and contracts for difference (CFD) offering. Now, traders have access to three more coins – bitcoin cash, litecoin and ripple.
Clients of the broker can now take a position on the three virtual currencies paired against the US dollar. The additional coins build upon CMC Market’s existing cryptocurrency offering, which at launch, consisted of bitcoin and ethereum.
CMC Markets remains committed to virtual currencies
Back in March this year, the UK-based broker launched its cryptocurrency offering, joining the ranks of foreign exchange and CFD brokers to add virtual currencies to its repertoire. Originally, the firm only offered this new asset class to its institutional clients.
However, in June, Finance Magnates reported that CMC Markets had extended its cryptocurrency spread bet and CFD offering to its retail clients. This meant retail investors could also take a position on bitcoin and ethereum paired against the US dollar.
Commenting on the expansion, David Fineberg, Group Commercial Director, said: “since the successful launch of our cryptocurrency offering in March, and subsequent extension to retail clients in July, our clients have expressed interest in extending their trading options beyond bitcoin and ethereum. We are pleased to offer them the chance to take a position on bitcoin cash, litecoin and ripple, three altcoins which continue to generate much speculation among traders.
“Spread bets and CFDs offer a way to trade on cryptocurrencies as clients can take a position on market movements without owning the asset. By trading with an established provider, funds can be deposited and withdrawn with ease, avoiding the risks of purchasing cryptocurrencies directly through an exchange. However, like all other financial instruments we offer, we always recommend clients understand the risks and conduct thorough research before trading.”
These are the changes of the CryptoCurrency market in the last one hour.
Bitcoin is now leading the rank on the most popular digital currency in the trade market. It has an increase of 0.05% in its exchange rate from 6689.215 dollars now at 6692.560 dollars. Tether is next to the leading crypto Bitcoin, it has a change of 0.19% rise in the last one hour from 0.996 dollars trading value in the market to 0.998 dollars. Third on the list is Ethereum. Sixty minutes ago, it has a rise of 0.42% in its trading price from 243.012 dollars now 244.033 dollars. Our fourth place holder on the popular digital currency is XRP, a downfall of -0.4% was reported making its current to 0.569 dollars from 0.572 dollars in the last hour. Top five on the list is claimed by EOS, it has a standing value of 6.006 dollars, this was after a -0.59% tumble in the crypto-exchange market from 6.041dollars. The sixth position is Bitcoin Cash, with a -0.54% decrease in its value in the exchange market, which means from 489.580 dollars now 486.936 dollars.
The biggest stock raisings of the last one hour are:
Here we summon for you the changes of the market of CryptoCurrency from the last 60 minutes.
The number one cryptocurrency leader is Bitcoin, this data was fetched in the last hour. It has an decrease on its trade value to -0.2%, now at 6687.450 dollars from 6700.852. Tether is at the second position next to Bitcoin, with a recorded 0.01% rise of its value from 0.999 dollars up to 0.999 dollars in the last hour. In the last 60 minutes, Ethereum was in the third place among the most popular digital cryptocurrency, -0.53% percent fall was recorded from 244.178 dollars earlier down to 242.884 dollars. XRP is on the fourth place on the most popular crypto coin, the change for this currency is -0.3% decrease, that is 0.567 dollars from 0.569 dollars in the last one hour. EOS is on the fifth position in our list, with a current standing value in the exchange market of 5.950 dollars from a recent -1.17% breakdwon in the last one hour from 6.020dollars. In the sixth position on the most popular digital currency is Bitcoin Cash, it has a reduced value of -0.58% compared to the last trade rate of 488.378 dollars now at 485.546 dollars.
The biggest stock raisings of the last one hour are: