Breaking: Bitcoin Cash Network Glitches After Undergoing Scheduled Hard Fork

Francisco Memoria

Final update 17:53 UTC: The Bitcoin Cash blockchain appears to be processing transactions normally. Most blocks found since the last update and include a few hundred transactions in them, with most having been processed by BTC.Top. It's believed the network is now reasonably safe once again.

Update 17:06 UTC: Two block with over 2,500 transactions combined has been mined. The BCH blockchain currently has blocks that could grow to as mcuh as 32 MB if needed, meaning the blockchain can easily clear the mempool it build up during the glitch. Available data shows the size of BCH's mempool dropped sharply after the block was mined.

BCH's mempool is clearing

Update 16:46 UTC: The BCH blockchain has seemingly started processing transactions once again. BTC.Top has recently mined a block that included 89 transactions, and an unknwon miner quickly managed to mine another block that included over 130 transations. This could mean BCH's developers applied a patch that fixed the issue.

BCH blocks with txs are being mined

Bitcoin Cash Blockchain Temporarily Struggled

After going through a planned update this Wednesday, May 15, 2019, the Bitcoin Cash network stopped processing transactions for various blocks, over what some were claiming to be an issue with the Bitcoin ABC client. The cryptocurrency's blockchain has since started processing transactions again.

According to Coin.Dance data, most blocks on the Bitcoin Cash blockchain mined after the hard fork were only processing the coinbase transaction, meaning unconfirmed transitions were piling up on the network and users weren't able to transact.

Bitcoin Cash's 1 transaction blocks

Behind the problem, according to a Reddit thread, was an “issue” with Bitcoin ABC, a client most cryptocurrency miners are running, that was  stopping transactions from being processed. The issue, first spotted by BitMEX Research, could be unrelated to the scheduled hard fork.

On social media, some users have argued miners were processing empty blocks to avoid processing transactions that could be malicious, or that could be rolled back while the network was facing technical difficulties.

BCH’s mempool , since the hard fork upgrade, started adding large transactions (in terms of data) to it, which could suggest someone was indeed trying to take advantage of the situation. Bitcoin Cash’s core developers reportedly worked on fixing the problem as soon as possible.

According to BitMEX Research, Bitcoin Cash split into two blockchains, meaning a new cryptocurrency has been created. A hard fork is known as an upgrade that isn't backwards compatible, which means those who don't upgrade their software end up forking off of the main chain.

According to Cornell University Professor Emin Gün Sirer, the BCH network wasn't processing transactions as it came “under attack,” thanks to an “old bug in block template creation.” Gün Sirer added that someone spent “months sitting on this bug,” but only chose to exploit it now, during the network upgrade.

Meanwhile, cryptocurrency exchanges started to react to the problem, with Poloniex revealing it has disabled deposits and withdrawals in the cryptocurrency in the meantime.

The cryptocurrency, which was created through a hard fork of the Bitcoin network in August of 2017, recently made headlines as it was outshining the wider crypto market rally this week. The hard fork, which added Schnorr Signatures to optimize the blockchain and added SegWit recovery, is believed to have helped its performance.

It’s worth noting that on November 15, 2018 the BCH network underwent a hard fork that led to the creation of Bitcoin Satoshi’s Vision (BSV).

China’s Digital Currency Will Provide ‘Controlled Anonymity’, Official Reveals

An official from the People’s Bank of China (PBoC), China’s central bank, has revealed the country’s upcoming digital currency will provide its users some anonymity.

According to Reuters Mu Changchun, head of the PBoC’s digital currency research institute, said at a conference in Singapore the officially-named Digital Currency Electronic Payment (DCEP) will meet demand for anonymity. He said:

We know the demand from the general public is to keep anonymity by using paper money and coins ... we will give those people who demand it anonymity in their transactions.

The DCEP is, according to some, going to be partially powered by blockchain technology and will use wallets just like bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. Analysts believe it could give China’s central bank unprecedented oversight and control over its economy, as it could allow it to control money flows.

Changchun noted that while it’ll provide anonymity, it will be “controllable anonymity” as the financial institution will ensure it doesn’t lead to anti-money laundering, terrorism-financing, online gambling, and other potential issues.

Per his words, the PBoC isn’t “seeking full control of the information of the general public,” but is instead looking to boost financial inclusion in rural areas and create a system that can be used in case there are problems with China’s current financial infrastructure. These comments seem to be a reply to Ethereum co-founder Joseph Lubin, who said China is likely interested in using DCEP for control.

When the DCEP will launch is currently unclear. While some rumored it would be launched this month, the head of the PBoC has said there’s “no timetable” for the digital currency’s launch. Chinese officials have also made it clear the currency’s holders won’t receive interest payments.

Featured image by Daniel Monteiro on Unsplash.