Amaury Séchet, the lead developer of full-node client Bitcoin ABC, has recently announced that a Bitcoin Cash (BCH) hard fork discussed last August will take place on May 15, 2018, and will introduce a larger block size and some new operational coding.
The block size will increase to allow blocks of up to 32MB in an effort to allow more transactions at greater speeds, scaling the blockchain with the ever-increasing user base. Séchet also pointed out that new OP-codes (operation codes) and color coin technology could allow the introduction of basic smart contracts and representative assets to the BCH network in a move deliberately designed to emulate Ethereum's qualities.
The fork willl take place at 12:00:00 UTC, and like previous BCH updates will be determined by Median Time Passed (MTP). Bitcoin ABC developers released a statement saying “when the median timestamp of the most recent 11 blocks is equal to, or greater than 1,526,400,000 then the new consensus rules shall apply to the next block. The exact time of activation depends on the time this block is found.”
Bitcoin ABC is not the only BCH client - others, like Bitcoin Unlimited and Bitcoin X have apparently also agreed to adopt the new changes. In an intrview at Satoshi's Vision conference, when asked about whether having multiple implementations of BCH was a complication, Séchet said he felt it benefitted the community to have different versions for a number of reasons, stating that different client implementations meant the network could go on if there was a bug. He also pointed out that "if one client started going rogue it would start to lose market share and another client will gain that market share. It’s keeping everybody honest."
The developers also urged the community to ease the transition by contacting wallets, exchanges, and other infrastructure providers and space participants and informing them of the change. The announcement reads:
"Bitcoin ABC will take steps to contact major exchanges and wallet providers. All assistance in this effort is welcome. You can help by contacting exchanges, wallet providers, and other ecosystem participants, and letting them know they should upgrade their software or run an updated version of Bitcoin ABC or other compatible software."
Anyone running a BCH node is urged to download the 0.17.0 update with new consensus rules at once. Per Bitcoin ABC, Bitcoin Unlimited and Bitcoin X clients stated they will also be updating their software.