January 30, 20183min1052

Bitcoin Cash is the real Bitcoin, Says US Govt Standards Agency NIST

“Technically, Bitcoin is a fork and Bitcoin Cash is the original blockchain,” according to a draft report on blockchain technology by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)

The controversial statement appeared in a draft document titled “NISTIR 8202 – Blockchain Technology Overview”  It attempts to set a clear definition of what blockchain technology is, and explain its surrounding issues. Including concepts like consensus, permissioned vs. permissionless, and hard forks.

The 57-page document has a section describing each of the major blockchain projects. That includes (among others) Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum, Litecoin, Dash, Ripple, and Hyperledger.

Most of the descriptions are fairly bland and straightforward. However, the section on Bitcoin Cash (which the report also calls by its original code “BCC”) stands out. It reads:

8.1.2 Bitcoin Cash (BCC)

In July 2017, approximately 80 to 90 percent of the Bitcoin computing power voted to incorporate Segregated Witness (SegWit, where transactions are split into two segments: transactional data, and signature data), which made it possible to reduce the amount of data being verified in each block. Signature data can account for up to 65 percent of a transaction block, so a change in how signatures are implemented could be useful. When SegWit was activated, it caused a hard fork, and all the mining nodes and users who did not want to change started calling the original Bitcoin blockchain Bitcoin Cash (BCC). Technically, Bitcoin is a fork and Bitcoin Cash is the original blockchain. When the hard fork occurred, people had access to the same amount of coins on Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash.

When SegWit was activated, it caused a hard fork” is arguably inaccurate. Near the end of July 2017, miners merely signaled their intent to approve SegWit. They reached an 80 percent required threshold to support BIP91 over a 336-block period.

Those who opposed SegWit and preferred larger transaction blocks separated around that point. On August 1st they created a new token called Bitcoin Cash (BCC or later, BCH). The BCH token has a current value of around $1,700 USD. But it has always been a chain with a minority of total hashing power, compared to Bitcoin (BTC).

SegWit itself was finally activated on August 24th via a soft fork, long after the hard fork that created Bitcoin Cash occurred. Soft-forking the network meant non-SegWit transactions could still occur, which they do to this day.


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