After a period of much difficulty due to internal splits that led to yet another new coin late last year, BCH has managed to continue standing.
Dismissed by plenty and even written off, the coin has something others don’t quite have. That dream of on-chain, peer to peer, mainstream payments.
Bitcoin’s stagnation, due to what now most think is primarily to serve Blockstream’s business of selling their own services, is soon to turn the currency into more of a banking interface than an open blockchain.
That’s after Bakkt laid out their vision of basically becoming a bank like intermediary where individuals deposit their coins there and can pay merchants only with coins already deposited.
Making it BitPay, but instead of on-chain payments they’re Bakkt database payments, so going around the scalability limitations, but also arguably reducing considerably the peer to peer aspect where payments are concerned.
Individuals presumably will still have the opportunity to pay on-chain, but the intention is to increase fees to the point they wouldn’t want to do so.
They claim that’s necessary to provide for sufficient mining incentive once the block rewards run out, but plenty see it more as a decision of choice.
Certainly the cashers do. They think the bitcoin system even at scale would remain decentralized and uncontrollable, citing the fact now gigabit internet is becoming a reality, among many other technological improvements.
They want no intermediaries at the user end, unless individuals choose to use intermediaries, but their focus is more on making onchain payments cheap and very convenient.
Libra, Bitcoin and BCH
In the world of Libra, these two almost identical coins are also similar in design, but with differences.
For bitcoin, it is the back end, just like Libra is the back end, and with no capacity the front end or access for users is controlled by the likes of Bakkt, just like in Libra it is controlled by Facebook.
The underlying design of the two is obviously very different, but that’s the back end. The similarities where users are concerned have some difference too, but arguably very minor if existent at all where the usecase of payments is concerned.
For BCH, the backend can be similar to Libra unless certain changes are made, but obviously with the difference that anyone can join if they want to pay the costs.
The costs however can be very minimal if noticeable at all with pruning, a somewhat complex mechanism of removing irrelevant history. Something necessary in any event.
So BCH has the potential to not be similar at the back end either in any way, while at the front end they’re very different.
BCH, Still the Contender?
Because of these considerable differences in tradeoffs, and because the tradeoffs bitcoin has chosen can lead to a detachment between the money and the payment aspect – with that so bringing in intermediaries again – BCH has continued to maintain grassroots support.
Ethereum in fact could have been more of a “threat” to it than bitcoin because the latter has a completely different design. While ethereum has been trying to bridge these tradeoffs.
Whether it can is for time to say. Save for some small efficiency gains, plenty think it unlikely in a realistic way where resource requirements are concerned say for something like Coinbase.
Meaning in time it may well come to be understood that the only way to scale open blockchains is how Nakamoto said. You just increase the amount of data that can go through.
The objections to it are disingenuous because they are based on the suggestion that history can only grow.
Obviously that can’t be so. It’s an unrealistic choice which taken to its conclusion means it’s irrelevant whether the blocksize is 1MB or 10MB because at some point history will grow too much to break the network.
The solution, as mentioned, is pruning, something necessary and something that makes the entire scalability debate irrelevant.
Meaning, even at the depth of BCH’s crisis in November 2018, some could not turn their back on it because the combination of its components and the intention to follow the on-chain scaling roadmap makes it an interesting experiment at the least.
In addition, though chances may be small, it may also be the last coin standing where the ideas of scalability are concerned.
The question is obviously whether they can move fast enough in more ways than just code. Whether they can agree to simple things like the green logo, for example.
Something not easy to say, but regardless, it has been obvious for some time that the BCH gang ain’t going anywhere. Welcome back.
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