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What We Know About Bitcoin Cash’s Two Rival Blockchains

At 18:02 UTC, the bitcoin cash blockchain officially split in two.

With one iteration of the bitcoin cash protocol called Bitcoin “Satoshi’s Vision,” or Bitcoin SV, directly opposing the upgrades introduced through the project’s long-dominant Bitcoin ABC implementation, the blockchain forked into two distinct networks, with two separate cryptocurrencies.

And while a so-called “hash war” had been greatly anticipated, for now – at least – the two chains are steadily mining blocks on their respective networks. At press time, threats of cross-chain sabotage hinted at by Bitcoin SV proponents have yet to materialize, nor has any retaliation from the ABC camp.

Initially, the Bitcoin ABC network was the only bitcoin cash platform to successfully create new blocks and validate transactions after the system upgrade (or hard fork) went live. Two blocks in, however, the Bitcoin SV network saw its first block mined at 18:29 UTC.

Mining pool Mempool mined the first block of Bitcoin SV, with SVPool and Coingeek mining subsequent blocks. Mining pools Bitcoin.com, BTC.com and Antpool have controlled the ABC action to date.

As of press time, Bitcoin ABC is 10 blocks ahead of Bitcoin SV, according to data compiled by Coin Dance.

How It’s All Playing Out

Thus far, most blocks mined on the Bitcoin ABC network have featured over 1,000 transactions, though starting at 20:48 UTC a significant drop in both block size and transaction count was recorded on blockchain explorer site Blockchair.

A few hours before hard fork activation, mining pools purporting to support the Bitcoin SV roadmap controlled a supermajority of the bitcoin cash network. However, according to bitcoin cash monitoring site CoinDance, Bitcoin ABC is now leading in terms of total hash power support.

One such example that received high attention over the course of today’s events was mining pool Bitcoin.com, which released an announcement to users saying all hash power going into mining the bitcoin blockchain would be temporarily deployed to mine Bitcoin ABC blocks.

Though this announcement received negative feedback from those who claimed the organization had no legal right to redirect mining support in this way, data on the site indicates that starting at 17:30 UTC the mining pool has steadily been reallocating hash power in support of the Bitcoin ABC blockchain.

In fact, as of press time, bitcoin.com purports that a total of 4218.89 Ph/s of hash power is being used to mine blocks on the Bitcoin ABC network; just one day prior that figure sat at roughly 240.00 Ph/s.

Remaining questions

As might be expected, the existence of two bitcoin cash chains leaves many questions, primarily regarding what will transpire in the days that come – and whether one chain ultimately gives way to another.

There was also an event Thursday that left lingering questions: as shown by blockchain explorer BlockDozer, a major spike in activity occurred within minutes of the chain split.

Who caused this spike in transaction activity – and for what purpose – remains unknown at this time, though the potential for another spam attack in efforts to overload either network is an ongoing possibility.

What’s more, wild fluctuations in bitcoin cash price were also seen throughout the day across different cryptocurrency exchanges.

Depending on ongoing hash power support and implementation of either software upgrade from users, prices could continue to see swings – but given the uniqueness of the scenario, it’s difficult to say at this time.

According to numbers on crypto exchange Poloniex, the comparative value estimated of both bitcoin cash cryptocurrencies is currently about $94 for Bitcoin SV and $285 for Bitcoin ABC.

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