The majority of the network nodes (roughly 82 percent) have transitioned to new software (version 0.16.0 or later) that includes rules aimed at making the protocol’s reward distribution more attractive to the miners that secure its blockchain.
Executed at roughly 21:00 UTC, the new version of the bitcoin cash blockchain has since amassed six blocks, while none have yet been mined on the older network. The results suggest that, while still possible, the fork will pass without the creation of a competing cryptocurrency.
Today’s hard fork looks to switch the protocol to a different mining algorithm that will favorably adjust how hard it is for miners to create new blocks roughly every 600 seconds.
The idea is that by doing so, bitcoin cash will avoid the sudden changes in difficulty that have encouraged large numbers of miners to switch frequently between the bitcoin and bitcoin cash blockchains, migrating to whatever version is offering the most in terms of rewards.
Kept intact will be the rules that caused the creation of the cryptocurrency, which hard forked off of the main bitcoin blockchain in August by way of code that increased its block size to 8 MB, up from 1 MB on bitcoin.
But it’s the necessity of the mining change that has many thinking the upgrade will be smooth.
In remarks, Haipo Yang and Jiang Zhuoer, two major mining pool operators, said they didn’t expect the change to be contentious. Other users, speaking in WeChat channels dedicated to the cryptocurrency, voiced similar statements of support for the measure.
This is due in part to the mining algorithm, which they acknowledged as having produced wild fluctuations in hash rate in the past. Developers have largely agreed.
According to the blog post outlining the hard fork and the updated software, the current rule is “problematic because it prevents consistently fast confirmations for users, and radically shifts the coin issuance schedule.”
Already, startups including Yours and Ledger have migrated software.
Cash and carry
Should the software upgrade ultimately hold, it could bode well for bitcoin cash.
The protocol’s supporters are arguably more encouraged about the network’s future with the suspension of the Segwit2x hard fork, scheduled to occur on bitcoin last week. A controversial scaling proposal drafted by a group of miners and bitcoin businesses, Segwit2x looked to increase the bitcoin block size from 1 MB to 2 MB by way of a hard fork.
Still, with the measure failed, its supporters appear to be migrating to alternatives. This weekend saw bitcoin cash rise to a value of nearly $2,000, an all-time high, though analysts differed on whether this amounts to lasting (or even real) support for the network.