Bitcoin Cash came into being on August 1st, 2017 as a result of a hard fork from the main Bitcoin blockchain. Despite the fact that the new currency created millions for its developers and backers, that windfall was apparently not enough. A second split is imminent, which will almost certainly (once again) reward a group of familiar faces with vast sums in unearned and undeserved value.
I don’t care to dwell on the merits of Bitcoin Cash – save to say that despite being heavily-marketed as the mass-adoption route for Bitcoin, it has achieved nothing of substance in the way of becoming the world’s go-to digital payment mechanism. In May, Chainalysis noted that BCash, or BCH, accounted for less than $4M in consumer spending.
What happened with the Bitcoin Cash hard fork?
It may have been pushed as an ideological schism, but the people involved in the Bitcoin / Bitcoin Cash division stood to gain extraordinary sums of money, no matter which side they took.
Bitcoin Cash was never about consumer adoption – it was about lining the pockets of certain individuals, conglomerates, and miners. It was about greed.
That greed was rewarded as the market capitalization of the fork raced to an unlikely $70 billion last December. But what prompted the BCH division?
Consider this: Bitcoin’s dominance was virtually unchallenged from its inception as a digital asset through to March of 2017. Suddenly, it began to plummet, as the era of Ethereum and the altcoins began. Ethereum promised utility far beyond the venerable technology powering BTC.
Bitcoin was facing the very real possibility of obsolescence, taking with it vast fortunes and huge investments in mining.
BTC reached a nadir in June of 2017 at 37.8% dominance of the crypto market, as altcoin enthusiasts set their clocks for the ‘flippening’ – the day that Ethereum (at almost 32%) would overtake Bitcoin as the world’s top cryptocurrency. An event which could easily have led to a market-wide exodus from BTC and into ETH and other currencies.
But it didn’t happen: the announcement of a Bitcoin Cash hard fork tempted the altcoiners back to the Bitcoin fold. Throughout June and July, Bitcoin recaptured a significant portion of its dominance. Because who wouldn’t want the chance of some free money?
And who would stand to lose most if Bitcoin had, in fact, become the less-favored crypto? That’s an easy one: the earliest people in the game, and the miners.
In other words, the people who are now, once again, fighting about who gets to take home a bigger share.
Today’s “battle of the billionaires” is the result.
Satoshi’s Vision? My Arse.
Of course, BCH holders would need to sell in order to reap what their more-accomplished predecessor sowed. At the very least, they could add the asset to their balance sheets to create the illusion of wealth – which could be leveraged into credit lines and loans. (Or even an IPO, if you had enough Bitcoin Cash stored up. Which happens to describe one of the main proponents of a fork, an organization that has recently deployed 90,000 Antminers to fight for its future.)
What else has Bitcoin Cash achieved, beyond creating wealth for a small number of people – and a bonus for early Bitcoin adopters?
A platform for obnoxious Twitter personalities to sputter their fake wars? We already have enough bloated billionaire blowhards filthying up our feeds; we don’t need more.
Blocks are less clogged – there’s a result, of sorts. But it’s not exactly what one might call an achievement for the ages.
Mass adoption of a digital payment system is being pursued, far more successfully, by any number of other cryptocurrency projects. Bitcoin Cash simply isn’t very good at what it’s purported to do, and therein lies the real problem.
Bitcoin Cash has provided almost nothing of genuine value to the cryptocurrency community. Few technical innovations. Little in the way of merchant acceptance. Nothing whatsoever in advancing the ideals and precepts of decentralization. Zero social good. It has been, largely, a waste of time.
The upcoming fork will divide its minimal contributions, diluting its relevance still further.
This fork will fuel yet more tedious and diversionary arguments over block size between irrelevant relics of a bygone Bitcoin age, dressed in ideology but truly rooted only in greed and the desire for power.
And it will provide them with an extra beach home or two, from which to continue their bickering and proclamations of an adherence to a vision that was, once, pure.
The author is not invested in Bitcoin Cash, but holds other digital assets.