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A Bitcoin Cash upgrade that would mandate all newly minted blocks donate 8% to development is threatening to drive a hard fork in November.
Bitcoin ABC, the dominant implementation of Bitcoin Cash (BCH), has published a controversial new upgrade that BCH supporters must deploy prior to November 15 to facilitate changes to the crypto asset’s core protocol.
Lead developer Amaury Sechet said part of the reason for the new upgrade was to provide crucial development funding to allow Bitcoin Cash to compete with Bitcoin and Ethereum.
“In comparison, Bitcoin Cash is lacking in funding and the result is a poorly maintained infrastructure, highly dependent on the work of other teams such as Bitcoin Core’s, as well as poor developer tools.”
The update will introduce a new difficulty adjustment algorithm dubbed ‘ASERT’ in response to drawn-out block times, alongside a controversial feature that will reject all newly mined blocks that do not divert 8% of rewards to a wallet designated to funding ongoing development to the ABC protocol — dubbed the ‘coinbase rule.’
Sechet predicts that without the coinbase rule, BCH’s future is a “slow drift into irrelevance” but said the split in the community ran much deeper than this one issue. While some are attributing the BCH tensions to the coinbase rule, “not even a month ago it was about difficulty adjustment … These details are not very relevant.”
“A split happens first at the community level, and then reasons are found to perpetuate it.”
He added: “I do not think there is anything that can be done to reunite the community at this point in time.”
What’s the beef?
Bitcoin ABC said the coinbase rule will allow “more technical talent [to] be hired to maintain and develop the network” predicting this will result in the removal of transaction chain bottlenecks to further speed up BCH transfers.
The coinbase rule appears set to become the catalyst for a hard fork in November — with some supporters of the alternative BCH implementation ‘Bitcoin Cash Node (BCHN)’ calling for the resignation of Sechet.
Bitcoin Cash’s most high-profile proponent Roger Ver, has expressed opposition to the coinbase rule — likening the upgrade on Reddit to a change that will alter BCH “to more closely resemble Dash.” He told Cointelegraph:
“I like Dash, but I DON’T think BCH should be altered to more closely resemble DASH. I wish those in the BCH community who want to change BCH to be more like DASH would just sell their BCH for DASH.”
Calls for Sechet’s resignation
In a blog post calling for Sechet’s resignation, BCHN supporter Nilac The Grim described “the much-dreaded ‘IFP Coinbase Rule’” as the primary source of contention among the BCH camps, asserting that the alternative BCH implementations — Bitcoin Unlimited, bchd, Flower, Bitcoin Verde, and K-nuth — are all opposed to its introduction.
Nilac said that recent fundraising initiatives have demonstrated that “the community loves to pay its dev project,” emphasizing that “there is no problem funding infrastructure.”
Speaking to Cointelegraph, Nilac predicted that Bitcoin Cash will avoid a November hard fork despite the tensions.
“We are in communication with mining pools in China and it’s pretty clear they are also against this unilateral modification to the coinbase reward.”
Sechet is unsure if BCH will see a fork in November, emphasizing that “BCHN will accept blocks coming from ABC but not the other way around.”
“This means that there will be a fork if BCHN has more hash than ABC, but not the other way around,” he said.
However, in the event of a fork, Sechet warned that “the BCHN chain will be wiped out” should the BCH chain become longer than the BCHN chain after the chain split.
“I don’t think any exchange in their right mind will list an asset that can be wiped out, so they might be forced to [execute] an emergency hard fork that ensures the chain’s survival,” he added.