There aren’t a lot of bright spots in this rainy market, but Bitcoin Cash is making its own weather. Despite the grey skies, the nine-month-old crypto is already on a journey to reinvent itself. Rather than fighting for the Bitcoin crown, the coin is getting a makeover, making new friends, experimenting with social media, and borrowing a few other ideas.
Speaking in a recent segment on CNBC’s Fast Money, Brian Kelly called Bitcoin Cash a ‘must-own’ investment, citing a recent decision to pool miner rewards to further develop the protocol. “They’re going to take some of the rewards they get from mining and put it in a fund to build stuff on top of bitcoin cash,” he said. “That’s how blockchains gain value.”
Kelly also noted the idea of a community development fund is not original. Many coins, like Dash, Pivx, and Nem, have already used their treasuries to great effect. This is one of the latest good ideas which Bitcoin Cash has borrowed from the other cryptos. Along with changes to the codebase and blocksize, the younger Bitcoin is becoming more than just a payment system.
Bigger Big Blocks
CNBC did not mention another change which effectively quadrupled the capacity of the BCH chain. Despite a few bumps, the second hard-fork opened the possibility of Bitcoin Cash becoming an entirely different kind of chain.
To recap: When the first bitcoins were mined, each block had some extra room in the margins, like the memo section of a check. The coinbase of the genesis block includes a muted indictment against the banking system, and later blocks were used to save different messages, including the entire text of the original white paper.
But as Bitcoin grew, so did the demand for block space, and developers squeezed extra transaction information wherever it would fit. By the time SegWit came around, the use of Bitcoin for anything other than Bitcoin was considered a waste of resources.
The BCH secession was a blessing in disguise: not only were there a lot fewer transactions, there was a lot more space to put them. And, as the developers realized, those cavernous blocks could record more than just transactions.
BCH: a Social Media Platform?
What do you do with empty blocks? If you’re a BCH developer, you fill them with Twitter, or something similar. On April 15th, developers announced memo.cash, a decentralized microblogging service that shares messages in the Bitcoin Cash blockchain. That was followed up shortly by blockpress, a competing service.
Both programs work similarly to like Twitter, with a few extra features like tipping (in BCH, naturally) and on-chain storage. Both services are censorship proof–an important improvement, for users in those countries where social media exist at the governments’ pleasure.
Although it’s not free, at a couple of satoshis per message, it’s pretty close.
Back to Basics—and Beyond
Along with the extra space, the latest hard fork also expanded the protocol’s programmability, allowing more complex programming.
The original Bitcoin had been written with a scripting language, but this had been disabled as a safety feature. By reintroducing the opcodes, said Bitcoin ABC, which maintains the client, “we can facilitate use-cases such as timestamping, representative tokens, and more complex transaction scripting.”
That makes Bitcoin Cash a little less of a ledger and a little more like a platform for smart (or at least, slightly smarter) contracts. The addition of colored tokens, for example, would make it possible to hold an initial coin offering on the BCH blockchain, and Coingeek has offered a bounty of GBP 5 million to anyone who can make it happen.
However, there are no Bitcoin Kitties – or piglets – just yet.
The author is invested in Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, and Dash, which are mentioned in this article.