The hardfork is now complete. Bitcoin Cash has begun operating as normal at around 14:50 London time on August 3rd 2017.
Blocks are now consistently being found within the usual ten minutes after difficulty adjusted earlier today at around 4AM GMT.
That completes the last element of bitcoin’s first hard-fork chain-split which can be considered as successful with no disruption, no funds losses, nor any problems whatever.
The entire process has gone through very smoothly, far more so than any foresaw as the Bitcoin Cash networks saw no attacks of any kind.
The Bitcoin Cash network began operating on August 1st with around 15% to 20% of the bitcoin classic network. An estimated 5% was provided by ViaBTC and bitcoin.com, while an unknown miner or miners had double that hashrate as estimated by blocks found.
All miners worked to serve and protect the network, proving once more the in-built incentives do work. They organized, whether through direct communication or by simply following the in-built rules, to mine in such an exact way as to trigger the difficulty adjustments.
An estimate of around $1 million or slightly more was the initial mining cost for the initiation of the Bitcoin Cash chain-split and its difficulty adjustment.
The network can currently be considered to be safe. It is operating at 26% of the classic chain, therefore an external 51% attack would likely not be viable.
Not least because they’d only be able to double spend their own coins for what would likely be a prohibitive cost, therefore making it as unlikely as in the classic chain.
An internal attack by 73% of the hashrate, if it is controlled by one individual, would likewise gain little at a very great cost. Nor is it likely because such concentration of hashrate is fairly common during early stages and has been observed in both bitcoin and ethereum.
In bitcoin, a now defunct mining pool, Ghash, managed to gain some 60% of the hashrate. Prior to that, a much older, and also defunct, mining pool likewise managed to gain the majority hashrate.
In ethereum, the same happened as has in other digital currencies. In neither case was any significant mining misbehavior observed.
The main reason is because they would profit far more by mining more Bitcoin Cash rather than double spending any coins they already have.
As such, with the network now seemingly starting to operate as normal, it can be said the split has been finalized and the scalability debate has ended.
There are now two bitcoin projects with overlapping communities, but distinct aims. With the chain-split finalized, their first task will be to shift from debate mode towards focusing on their own goals.
There are some signs that process has already begun, at least on the Bitcoin Cash end, but it is no where near usual levels, as might be expected after more that two years of endless arguments.
Because they are still focusing far too much on classic bitcoin, or on the behavior of its public communication channels, rather than on their own coin.
Which perhaps should be expected as the process of realizing they have actually split and they are now two communities formally and otherwise may take some time to sink in.
But whether they will continue to plead acceptance from those they disagree with, or ignore and dismiss them, so focusing on their own project, remains to be seen.
Specifically, whether they’ll be able to see what is now classic bitcoin as something distinct and much of its community as very different from theirs, just like they see other digital currencies and their communities.
And so accept that they will do things differently and behave differently because that was the whole reason for the split. And further realize that what they do or say no longer matters. What now should matter to them is what Bitcoin Cash does and what its supporters say.
UPDATE: After this article was published there was a gap of some 5 hours in new blocks produced, which many thought was aimed at kicking in a second difficulty change. However, after the five hours gap, blocks began being found at one per 30 minutes, then at one per around one hour.
Normal operations therefore was only temporary. It seems another difficulty change may be required which would occur if no blocks are found for 12 hours.