Bitcoin ABC is a software-based bitcoin protocol update designed to increase bitcoin’s blocksize and create Bitcoin Cash (BCC). Find out everything you need to know about Bitcoin ABC today in our review.
What Is Bitcoin ABC?
Bitcoin ABC is a full node implementation of the bitcoin protocol that removes SegWit and replaces it with a simple, sensible, adjustable blocksize cap. Today, Bitcoin ABC is why so many people in the bitcoin community are talking about Bitcoin Cash.
To be clear, Bitcoin ABC is a UAHF proposal competing for community transaction. Some users believe it’s the future of bitcoin, while others believe it’s going to disappear almost immediately after August 1.
Bitcoin Cash, however, is currently being traded on exchanges in the leadup to the August 1 deadline. Users are buying Bitcoin Cash at discounted rates (compared to bitcoin) in the hopes that Bitcoin Cash and bitcoin will be trading at similar rates after August 1. Naysayers, of course, say that Bitcoin Cash will be worth pennies within a few hours of the August 1 deadline.
If Bitcoin ABC is successful, then we will see a fork of the bitcoin, with one fork becoming Bitcoin Cash. Supporters of Bitcoin ABC and Bitcoin Cash will tell you that BCC is the true implementation of Satoshi’s vision: it’s designed as a type of digital cash. Unlike today’s bitcoin, it’s designed to be transferable, fast, international, and cheap to use.
As the BitcoinABC.org website explains, the protocol update is built to be robust, scalable, and modern. It’s designed to push bitcoin into the payment platform it should be.
Of course, if you ask Bitmain/SegWit supporters, you’ll typically hear things like, “Bitcoin Cash is a scam” or “This is a deliberate attempt to confuse the bitcoin community.”
The “ABC” in Bitcoin ABC, by the way, stands for “Adjustable Blocksize Cap”.
How Does Bitcoin ABC Work?
Having an adjustable block size is important. The “ABC” part of Bitcoin ABC means users can determine their preferred blocksize accordingly.
This feature is important to miners and users. However, it can also cause issues for people dealing with slower internet connections or data caps.
The maximum blocksize proposed by Bitcoin ABC is 16MB. That means miners and users could choose a block size anywhere between 1MB and 16MB. However, it appears the 16MB limit is only a temporary placeholder.
Here are other policies you need to know regarding Bitcoin ABC and how it works:
- Bitcoin ABC will not support replace-by-fee, which has long been a popular solution for avoiding bitcoin network congestion
- Bitcoin ABC has no plans to activate Segregated Witness in any way (again, SegWit has been popular in the bitcoin community)
- Since some people in the community don’t like SegWit, it makes sense for bitcoin to split democratically into two hard forks – one with SegWit and another without
- It’s possible that Bitcoin ABC will become one of three UAHF implementations that Bitmain referred to in their infamous blog post on the topic (in other words, we could have three different versions of bitcoin)
Bitcoin ABC Features
The BitcoinABC.org official website advertises the following three core features regarding their hard fork:
Bitcoin ABC aims to build on bitcoin’s base with improved code quality. “Development follows a process of continuous integration, based on industry best-practices” explains the official website.
Bitcoin ABC implements the user activated hard fork (UAHF) proposal to accept 8MB blocks. Miners can choose the size of the blocks they wish to mine, with a default size of 2MB. Bitcoin ABC also includes replay and wipeout protection.
Bitcoin ABC believes that bitcoin has been held back by its 1MB block size for two long. Bitcoin ABC brings bitcoin into the modern era with a massive improvement enabling scaling – something that could spur the mass adoption of bitcoin in the future.
Replay And Wipeout Protection
We mentioned this above, but it deserves its own section. If two chains persist, Bitcoin Cash will minimize user disruption and permit safe and peaceful coexistence of the two chains, complete with replay and wipeout protection.
Bitcoin ABC will lead to a new transaction type called Bitcoin Cash.
Where Did Bitcoin ABC Come From?
Bitcoin ABC didn’t exist until a few months ago. The proposal came from Bitmain’s contingency plan against the user-activated soft fork (UASF). However, Bitmain never called their contingency plan Bitcoin ABC. That credit goes to a developer named Amaury Séchet, who revealed the Adjustable Blocksize Cap proposal to an audience at the Future of Bitcoin conference earlier this year.
After Séchet’s announcement and the first client release of Bitcoin ABC, Bitcoin Cash was announced. Today, the project can be found online at BitcoinABC.org.
Bitcoin ABC And Bitcoin Cash
Bitcoin ABC is the proposal, while Bitcoin Cash is the name of the currency used by that hard fork if the proposal is successful.
Bitcoin Cash is a token that started appearing on exchanges in late July. These exchanges are essentially trading Bitcoin Cash futures: you are buying the opportunity to reserve Bitcoin Cash once it emerges onto the blockchain in the future, should the hard fork be successful. BCC started trading at a price of around $800 to $1000. That seems expensive for a currency that doesn’t really exist yet; however, users were taking a gamble that BCC would soon be priced similar to bitcoin, and would skyrocket in value after August 1.
Nevertheless, others believe BCC will be worth pennies after August 1 when miners declare no intention of putting hashrate towards the currency.
Bitcoin ABC has a slow mining difficulty reduction algorithm in case there’s not enough hashrate to support the chain, so it will be interesting to see what happens.
Will Anyone Mine Bitcoin Cash?
Several bitcoin mining pools have announced the possibility of directing hashrate towards the Bitcoin Cash chain in the future. However, few pools are declaring their specific intention to do so.
Bitmain, for example, has stated that the firm is focusing its efforts on SegWit2x and running that specific software, although they’re closely monitoring the movement of BCC and don’t want to rule out any possibilities.
Another large mining pool, Bitcoin.com, has also stated that they’re monitoring the situation, but haven’t declared their intentions one way or another.
Bitcoin ABC Conclusion
Ultimately, if you hold bitcoin today, and you hold control of your private keys (i.e. your bitcoins are held off an exchange) then you will own whatever types of bitcoin emerge after August 1. Bitcoin Cash could disappear into a valueless, unsupported black hole after August 1. Or, it could become the greatest cryptocurrency the world has ever seen. These are exciting times for the bitcoin community, and we’ll have to wait to find out where Bitcoin ABC goes.