Bitcoin Cash threw a lot of crypto enthusiasts for a loop when it was released and actually showed to hold its ground. Originally looked at as a “knockoff” Bitcoin clone, it’s held among the top of the altcoins for quite some time now. And coming in just over a week, it will also be bringing a hard fork of its own – though it’s nothing compared to the split in the blockchain it made when separating from Bitcoin. However, it is bringing a new name: Bitcoin ABC.
What’s it Bringing?
Aside from the new name, it has two notable differences: bigger blocks (at 32MB) and opcodes. In terms of the opcodes, “There are also several Bitcoin script operation codes (op codes) being added or reactivated. These include OP_CAT, OP_AND, OP_OR, OP_XOR, OP_DIV, OP_MOD, OP_SPLIT, OP_NUM2BIN, and OP_BIN2NUM. Finally, the OP_RETURN data carrier size increases to 220 bytes.”
For the block size itself, this is designed to help increase its ability to handle more transactions. With new opcodes come more data per block, and the development team behind the coin is working to ensure that it is future-proof as much as possible, being proactive, rather than reactive in how they handle these things.
Do I Get Free Coins?
The answer to this as of right now is likely not. While this is a hard fork, which is generally attributed to separate chains and users getting forks on each of them, with Bitcoin ABC, it is essentially an internal move to a different consensus protocol. If any exchanges or other sites remain on the old Bitcoin Cash code, they will be on a separate chain and you will technically have coins in both, but in all likelihood, most sites should be upgrading to support the new chain instead. As such, any Bitcoin Cash you currently hold will become Bitcoin ABC, and for all intents and purposes, everything will remain the same as it has been for end users – barring software upgrades. For the upgrades, more information for QT users can be found here, and for those who are using hardware wallets or other software, it is advised to check out their respective sites to ensure they will be moving to the new protocol.
When Does it Take Place?
The new consensus rules should take place on May 15, 2018. For those who use the QT program, however, it can already be updated through their official site to support the new protocol now. And other providers may already be making the move as well. That said, it is highly advised that if you have Bitcoin Cash and want to ensure that you don’t end up in some weird problem, either wait a few days after the work and ensure that the platform you’re using is working properly with the changes or move the coins to the QT client or similar prior to the fork. This ensures that you have the private keys to the coins and can wait until any potential issues (if there are any) are ironed out.