The gap between the Bitcoin and its "offspring" Bitcoin Cash is not just ideological — it is potentially dangerous.
Many months of technical quirks resulted in the periodic loss of users’ money of both cryptocurrencies. Nevertheless, this nightmare may soon remain in the past because the development team of Bitcoin Cash recently announced that they take steps to resolve this problem.
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Bitcoin Cash initially separated from the Bitcoin network in an attempt to experiment with the vision of another long-term technology. However, some similarities cause problems.
A new blockchain of Bitcoin Cash was created on the base of the transaction history of Bitcoin. It has a big part of the old code, including the address format used by clients to send money. If users are not attentive, they can send Bitcoin Cash into their Bitcoin purse and vice versa.
A quick search on Google finds many forum posts where users complain about this problem.
"I’ve accidentally sent my BTC to a BCC address. Is there a way to recover them? Is there somebody who can help me with this problem?" asked one user on a technical forum Bitcoin Stack Exchange.
"It was about $500 worth. I feel like an idiot!" writes another user, requesting help.
The decision is obvious: it just needs to change addresses to prevent their compatibility. Amaury Sechet, a leading developer of Bitcoin ABC (bitcoin cash software implementation), believes that this achievement should be the next big step of the project.
During the announcement of the development of the new address format called "cashaddr," Sechet called it "pressing" change, stating that it will be done in December. Later he added:
"In order to reduce confusion for users with the use of different addresses, I think it is important to deploy this shortly and stop the fragmentation of the ecosystem."
Unlike the last significant difference of Bitcoin Cash, in this case, the hard fork is not required. It means that not everybody needs to update his software to use the network.
"The 'key' to this, pun intended, is that the underlying public and private cryptographic key pairs won't change – just how they are represented as 'addresses' will look different in wallet software," said Calin Culianu, one of the developers of Bitcoin ABC software.
However, he noted that the update would be softer, if everything, including companies that provide wallets to users, introduces the new software in advance. Thus, the entire ecosystem will be aware of new addresses.
Interestingly, the Sechet’s proposal comes from changes first proposed by the developers of Bitcoin Core.
Although Bitcoin Cash intends to compete with Bitcoin, trying to reduce the fee size, this willingness to take inspiration from bitcoin’s software shows that the two cryptocurrencies are not so far from each other.
"We want the user experience to be flawless, especially with potentially significant amounts of money involved," said Bitcoin ABC contributor Shammah Chancellor.
There is still no final decision about proposal implementation considering all given information.
The developers argue whether the consent of the community Bitcoin Cash for the updates introduction. One of the developers, Roy Bagami, for example, agrees with the release of a new addresses format, but he notes that he is "not a big fan of bech32," format, which is based on the proposed by Sechet "cashaddr."
Another developer Freetrader has released a "community survey" to get a clearer idea about the mood among users.
However, others support innovation. "It’s a good proposal," said Chancellor.
Taking a broader view, the developers remain optimistic regarding the forecast for the offshoot of bitcoin, and Culianu believes that BCH already "great," and he sees no point in its further support.
"I was more interested in making sure it takes off, and it had shot back when they needed manpower – now that Amaury Sechet has put together an even larger team and everything is going smoothly – I no longer felt a need to contribute," told Culianu.
Other contributors proposed long-term roadmaps with the possible improvements Bitcoin Cash can make on the way, for example, elimination of "transaction malleability" bug. Maybe these roadmaps will be harbingers of future changes, but all they have done is sparked heated debate. If users are not attentive, they can send Bitcoin Cash into their Bitcoin purse and vice versa.
Anyway, despite the fact that the address format may seem to be a slight change, this could be a sign that the difference between Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash will continue to grow.