The Bitcoin ABC development team yesterday released a new version of its latest, controversial upgrade. The upgrade includes a major change to take place on November 15, designed to fund blockchain development, but it’s so unpopular it might split the blockchain in two.
This wouldn’t be the first time Bitcoin Cash has broken in half. The cryptocurrency began as a fork of Bitcoin in 2017, providing increased block size so that more transactions could be processed. Then, just a year later, BCH went through a second fork, giving rise to Bitcoin SV which wanted even bigger blocks. Now, it looks like a third split may be lying in wait.
“The current debate within the BCH community reflects that original endeavor of these former BTC developers to further decentralize the protocol development process. Whether this would again result in a split, remains to be seen,” Nishant Sharma told Decrypt. Sharma was actively involved in Bitcoin’s famous scaling debate and later founded BlocksBridge Consulting, an international PR strategy and advisory firm focused on the Bitcoin mining industry.
It all started when the development team for Bitcoin ABC, a full node implementation of the BCH protocol, proposed an Infrastructure Funding Proposal on August 18. It would result in eight percent of mining rewards being used for infrastructure development. In other words, every time a block is mined on the blockchain, only 92% of the rewards produced will go to the miner—the rest would get sent to an account owned by the Bitcoin ABC team.
This proposal has proven controversial. Roger Ver, one of Bitcoin Cash’s famous investors, tweeted, “Diverting part of the Bitcoin Cash block reward to pay a single development team is a Soviet style central planner’s dream come true. Please stop.”
If a split occurs, it could be bad news for the new coin. There’s a chance the new ABC coin—that would be created as a result of the split—would lose mining support, as well as its current places on multiple crypto exchanges. Each exchange would have to look at supporting the coin and if there’s no community momentum for it, they might choose not to list it.
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An overwhelming amount of the BCH community doesn’t support the ABC development team’s proposals. In a statement, Simple Ledger Protocol said: “We do not consider a protocol that redirects coinbase rewards, to be Bitcoin Cash (BCH), especially when such a rule was announced unilaterally.”
Some miners are even writing “PoweredByBCHN” on Bitcoin Cash blocks to signify their rejection of Bitcoin ABC’s controversial proposal, and to show their support for the current coin.
But with another split on the horizon, Bitcoin Cash needs to be careful that it’s not forked into obscurity.