Bitcoin is in the midst of a civil war. It has been simmering for some time, though it remained largely out of view to the general public until last month, when a prominent Bitcoin developer announced that the cryptocurrency and the technology underlying were, in his opinion, a failed experiment.
The developer, a former Google engineer named Mike Hearn, believed that bitter infighting and intransigence among the core development team had paralyzed the system, which was facing growing pains that, unaddressed, would cripple the currency so badly it was unlikely to recover. Pundits piled on to pronounce Bitcoin dead, and even its staunchest advocates admitted it was unclear if the project would continue to thrive.
In the three weeks since, a fascinating debate has played out across the globe, as the Bitcoin community struggled to find a way forward. The future remains uncertain, but for now, the cryptocurrency has split in two, with the core development team going in one direction, and a group of influential miners, exchanges, and startups going in another, a separation known as a hard fork. They have created competing versions, Bitcoin Core and Bitcoin