Bitcoin splits as new currency takes off

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A new version of Bitcoin has been mined for the first time in the crypto-currency’s history.

“Bitcoin Cash is the result of months of debate and development over how the currency would continue to evolve.
Fears of large swings in the value of Bitcoin have so far not been realised – but some exchanges are still adapting to the new currency.
One expert said the process had gone smoothly so far and pointed out that trade in Bitcoin Cash seemed “robust”.
Bitcoin Cash was developed as a measure to increase the capacity of Bitcoin’s underlying technology, the blockchain – a digital ledger that records every single transaction.
Bigger blocks

Because the old blockchain could only have one megabyte (MB) of data added to it every 10 minutes, transactions have come to be processed at slower rates.

Bitcoin Cash blocks can be as large as 8MB, which its proponents hope will help to solve this problem.
Yesterday, Bitcoin Cash was officially born when block number 478559 – at just under 2MB in size – was mined.
No major issues have so far been detected following the split although a few exchanges and wallets have had minor technical issues with supporting Bitcoin Cash initially, said Dr Garrick Hileman, research fellow at the Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance.

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“A market seems to be emerging for Bitcoin Cash that looks to be relatively robust,” he told the BBC.
The fresh-faced crypto-currency was trading comfortably above $400 (£300) about 12 hours after it was created.
Bitcoin itself saw a modest fall in price on Tuesday, but was still above $2,700 (£2,000) at 10:00 BST on Wednesday.