The Bitcoin Cash network is scheduled to upgrade the consensus rules on May 15th, 2018. Their development community performs periodic network upgrades to evolve the network to keep up with their competitive advantage. The upgrade to the consensus rules will raise BCH’s blocksize fourfold from 8 MB to 32 MB and will activate and re-initiate a series of Bitcoin script operation codes.
Bitcoin ABC 0.17.0 is available for download now and contains code to run the new consensus rules. It even contains a code to smoothly transition from the old rules to the new rules at the scheduled activation time. This means that if you are running a Bitcoin Cash node, you should immediately upgrade to the new software.
In addition to the quadrupling of Bitcoin Cash’s current 8MB block size, they are modifying a series of opcodes, the most recognizable of them being OP_RETURN. OP_RETURN, at the center of various debates over the years, allows for arbitrary bytes to be placed in an unspendable transaction. OP_RETURN allows 220 arbitrary bytes per transaction.
There is a testnet on the horizon and will be coming soon for those keeping an eye. The team has announced: “Bitcoin ABC is currently testing both the new rules and their activation. A testnet should be available soon. Other groups are encouraged to test as well.”