Bitcoin splits cryptocurrency community with launch of cash alternative

A new version of bitcoin, dubbed ‘bitcoin cash’, was met with a mixed reception on its first day of trading

  • By Kim Darrah | Wednesday, August 2nd, 2017

The bitcoin community has been split by ongoing debates over how to scale the technology

An ideological rift in the bitcoin community has culminated in the launch of an alternative version of the cryptocurrency, which is being led by a splinter group of bitcoin users, developers and miners. The split is known as a ‘hard fork’ and will ultimately allow the new iteration to function as a separate cryptocurrency, like ripple or ethereum.

The new cryptocurrency, labelled ‘bitcoin cash’, was launched on August 1, and will act as direct competitor to the original bitcoin. Trading got off to a volatile start, with the value of bitcoin cash initially surging before experiencing a dramatic fall later in the day. In turn, the value of the original bitcoin dropped slightly, now standing at around $2,729.

The breakaway follows a series of bitter debates among bitcoin heavyweights, who have failed to agree on the best strategy to scale the system as its popularity continues to rise. The debates centre on bitcoin’s restricted processing speeds, which are currently running close to the technologies own inbuilt limits. Bitcoin cash was created as a rival configuration to expand the capacity for processing transactions.

Bitcoin cash has divided bitcoin users, with many believing the very concept of creating a new version of the coin goes against the ideology of a cryptocurrency

The introduction of bitcoin cash has divided bitcoin users, with many believing the very concept of creating a new version of the coin goes against the ideology of a cryptocurrency, which is inherently limited in its supply.

There is no guarantee bitcoin cash will gain enough traction to develop real value, but many in the bitcoin community have expressed support for the coin’s new guise.

However, bitcoin cash is currently trading at a fraction of the price of the original bitcoin, and certain online cryptocurrency wallets are refusing to support the new format.

Speaking of its decision to boycott bitcoin cash, crytocurrency wallet Coinbase said: “[It’s] hard to predict how long the alternative version of bitcoin will survive and if bitcoin cash will have future market value.”