Bitcoin Cash Fork Looms as Rival Factions Disagree on Future Direction

  • The November 15th software upgrade seems to be polarising the BCH community and raises the spectre of a fork.
  • Mining rivals Bitmain and CoinGeek disagree over future direction

Bitcoin Cash (BCH), the world’s fourth-largest cryptocurrency is facing a moment of crisis as more than a year after its fork from the original bitcoin blockchain, its community appears to be split down the middle, raising the prospect of another fork amidst bearish market conditions.

In particular, two of its biggest mining pools are at loggerheads over a planned software update on November 15th.

Central to the conflict are Jihan Wu’s Bitmain Technologies on one end of the conflict, which holds as much as $600 million in BCH while preparing for a reported $3 billion IPO in Hong Kong, and billionaire Calvin Ayre’s CoinGeek on the other.

Personality Clashes

While as yet it is unclear exactly how much support either party commands within the Bitcoin Cash community, there is enough of a furore for personalities like self-proclaimed Bitcoin inventor Craig S. Wright to wade into the controversy, with BCH promoter Roger Ver remaining conspicuously silent on the matter.

As things currently stand, the November 15th update will either be accepted by the BCH community or it will result in yet another fork.

Speaking to Bloomberg about the situation, Lucas Nuzzi, director of technology research at Digital Asset Research expressed fears about the cryptocurrency’s ability to survive without support from all miners and promoters.

He said:

It is ironic how the very same philosophy that led to the creation of Bitcoin Cash is now the cause of its demise. The only reason why Bitcoin Cash lasted this long was because of the mining support of Jihan Wu and Calvin Ayre, coupled with the marketing efforts of Roger Ver and CSW.

Opposition to Changes

CryptoGlobe reported earlier this year that Bitcoin Cash lead developer Amaury Sechet was banned from the community’s slack workplace as tempers flared over a plan to include a change in transaction ordering in the next network software update due on November 15th.

The proposal, which has been on the BCH roadmap - was supported by Bitmain - but CoinGeek is firmly against the new feature, which proposes to permit developers to issue tokens on the network in a manner similar to Ethereum’s ERC-20 framework by destroying BCH coins.

Also in the camp of those against the update is Peter Rizun, lead scientist for Bitcoin Unlimited, a version of Bitcoin Cash run by about 40 percent of all miners,

Voicing his disapproval to Bloomberg recently, he said:

Any change to the consensus layer of Bitcoin is a big deal. My view is that we should only be making forking changes if we only have a really good reason to make the change.