Bitcoin Gold (BTG) developers announced that they were set to launch the network on November 12 at 19:00 UTC. BTG futures have risen more than 300% from $140 as a consequence of the announcement, currently trading at $450.
BTG will be created by a hard fork of the Bitcoin blockchain. The fork occured on October 24 when a snapshot of the blockchain was taken, which means that everyone who had Bitcoin at the time will be credited with equivalent amount of BTG.
The key difference between Bitcoin and BTG is that BTG has implemented the Equihash Proof-of-work algorithm instead of SHA256, allowing anyone with a GPU to mine BTG without requiring specialized hardware. BTC also included a difficulty re-adjustment algorithm named ‘DigiShield' which adjusts the mining difficulty every time a block is found, as opposed to once every two weeks in the case of Bitcoin.
BTG was unlikely to receive a great deal of support from users or miners from the get go. The delay in the launch of BTG, with developers tinkering with the replay protection and implementation of a new consensus algorithm to deter the use of ASIC to mine BTG, has only led to further doubts about its prospects as a network.
Furthermore, in a much-maligned move, the first 8000 blocks will be pre-mined privately by the developers. This is something that is not only highly frowned upon in the Cryptospace but considered downright unfair. Developers could easily sell their pre-mined coins for a profit for themselves at release price, leaving investors to bear the brunt of the coin's performance in the actual market.
Sol Lederer, blockchain director at tech startup Loomia, is of the opinion forks are detrimental to Bitcoin.
“These forks are very bad for bitcoin. Saturating the market with different versions of bitcoin is confusing to users, and discredits the claim that there are a limited number of bitcoins – since you can always fork it and double the supply.”