Minutes ago, Bitcoin Cash activated a hard fork that splintered the fourth-largest cryptocurrency’s network into at least two competing versions, currently referred to by their primary software clients, Bitcoin ABC (BCHABC) and Bitcoin SV (BCHSV).
The Bitcoin Cash network upgraded shortly after 18:00 UTC, when the BCHABC and BCHSV chains diverged at block 556767. Bitcoin.com mined the first two blocks according to the BCHABC rules — both of which SV nodes marked as invalid — while BCHSV had yet to mine its first divergent block as of the time of writing.
Leading up to the hard fork, BCHABC — whose upgraded client activates features on the “official” Bitcoin Cash roadmap — maintained a significant edge according to economic and community support metrics. Nearly three-quarters of all BCH node operators are running ABC, compared to just 8 percent running SV. Similarly, pre-fork futures markets had priced BCHABC at a massive premium, $320 at the time of writing compared to just $80 for BCHSV. Moreover, most BCH-supporting companies have signaled that, at least in the near-term, they will list BCHABC under the “bitcoin cash” label and “BCH” ticker.
However, BCHSV — whose primary backers are Craig S. Wright and billionaire Calvin Ayre — has amassed the dominant hash rate, purportedly controlling about 75 percent of all BCH mining power in the minutes before the fork.
Beyond just threatening, SV supporters have openly declared that they will use this superior hash power to attack BCHABC, exclusively mining empty blocks and repeatedly reorganizing its blockchain until supporters capitulate and the economic majority moves to SV.
Roger Ver-owned Bitcoin.com, which recently came out in support of Bitcoin ABC, has sought to fight back by temporarily moving all of the hash power in its mining pool to the BCHABC chain — including hash power that is currently directed at Bitcoin (BTC).
BitMEX head researcher Jonathan Bier has predicted that the economic majority will ultimately win out, with miners quickly abandoning the BCHSV chain rather than mine at a loss indefinitely.
Failing that, Bitcoin ABC lead developer Amaury Séchet has refused to rule out changing BCH’s Proof-of-Work (PoW) hashing algorithm as a “nuclear option” to protect the ABC chain if SV-backed miners successfully mount a disruptive attack on its network.