The Bitcoin Cash (BCH) blockchain underwent a hard fork on November 15, creating both the BCH ABC (or BCHA) and BCHN blockchains.
Despite limited approval from the Bitcoin Cash community - in the form of support for, much less a commitment to adopt - Bitcoin ABC developers led by Amaury Séchet decided to push ahead with their plan to implement a new Infrastructure Funding Plan (IFP).
Pre-fork, indications were that 80% of miners favoured the BCHN chain.
The issue behind the Bitcoin Cash hard fork was the IFP, which was a proposed change to the BCH protocol that hard-coded an 8% “miners tax” into the mining protocol - meaning that 8% of the rewards given to miners for BCH mined would automatically be directed to Bitcoin ABC and the developers to fund their ongoing work.
Those in the BCHN camp, the most well-known being Roger Ver - CEO of Bitcoin.com and chief proponent of Bitcoin Cash, having backed the creation of the token when it hard-forked from the Bitcoin blockchain in 2017 - were opposed to the change.
Unsurprisingly, the idea was none too popular with miners either, given it would directly eat into their profits.
While the need to fund further development was not in question, there was clear disagreement that this was the best way to do it.
From a more philosophical point of view, the fear was that the proposal threatened to centralise the development of BCH around a single group of developers - anathema to the principle of decentralised ledgers upon which bitcoin is founded.
In Ver’s own words, it’s “a Soviet-style central planner’s dream come true.”
Was it a success?
Well, yes, in that the hard fork took place and the ledger split - as was the ABC goal - but so far that’s about it for the ABC camp.
In the two days since the fork, it is now clear that BCHN will be the dominant chain.
We can say this because all the mining activity since the fork took place has happened only on the BCHN blockchain. This is clearly illustrated by the hash rates in the chart below from Coin Dance.
Bitcoin Cash hash rates, by network (Coin Dance data)
It's clear from the chart that ABC hash rates dropped off rapidly after the fork on November 15. Although hash rates on the BCHN chain fell also, this can be explained by the tentative nature of miners around the fork event. Within three hours of the fork, hash rates on the BCHN chain bottomed out and began to recover, from which point the trend of higher hash rates resumed once it became clear how this was unfolding.
In its simplest terms, the hash rate reflects the amount of computing power used by miners on that blockchain to mine that token. The fall in the BCH ABC hash rate is thus a clear indication of what miners have decided to do with that side of the ledger duplication.
In fact, so far not a single new block has been mined on BCH ABC, making BCHN the clear winner in the forking.
That said, while all the finer details may not have been settled yet, de facto it looks like a done deal.
What does this mean for me - and Cloudbet?
The largest crypto exchanges generally suspended deposits and withdrawals of BCH ahead of the fork and adopted a wait-and-see approach to how events would unfold.
Cloudbet did the same, giving its players who held BCH in their accounts adequate notification and time ahead of the fork to withdraw and take custody of their BCH assets.
If BCHA proves itself to be a viable, going concern, with miners mining on the new protocol, then a new token for the new blockchain would be required.
However, given the hash rates seen on the BCHA chain, this looks unlikely.
The most likely conclusion is that the new BCHN blockchain will adopt the BCH name and maintain the token’s BCH ticker as there is no need to differentiate itself from another.
Cloudbet is supporting the BCHN blockchain and is again accepting BCH deposits and withdrawals made on the BCHN blockchain only, under the BCH ticker. Cloudbet may or may not choose to support BCHA in the future, under a new, different symbol.
Where exactly this leave’s Amaury Séchet and his band of developers is unclear - time will tell, we suppose.
But one important message to take away from this is that the bitcoin shibboleth of decentralisation remains protected and intact.