62% of Bitcoiners believe a fork in the booming digital currency will not result in a split, as has happened to other digital currencies implementing code-changes that needed community miner and node support to activate. The survey appeared on Twitter and was created by Twitter user Xentagz, who describes himself as a “Bitcoin Field Reporter.”
Will #bitcoin split in 2017? (plz retweet)
— Dennis [UASF] (@Xentagz) June 10, 2017
Bitcoiners do not believe the digital currency will split into two different versions in 2016, as happened with Ethereum in 2016, when a second chain – dubbed ‘Ethereum Classic’ – gained popularity.
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Participants in the open-source Bitcoin creation community have long debated a potential new implementation for their beloved project which would allow bitcoin to act as a peer-to-peer electronic cash for increasing numbers of people. Due to the amount of transactions that can be verified by the network’s nodes at once, there can accumulate significant delays in the time it takes Bitcoin to process this transaction.
A loud and boisterous section of the Bitcoin Community – like those running businesses dependent on smooth transactions – have demanded changes to bitcoin’s code to enable quicker, and thus more, transactions all at once. This would allow more people to enjoy the benefits of Bitcoin.
Changing code to distributed, open-source systems becomes highly politicized very quickly as factions form and people debate the merits and faults of every nook-and-cranny of the change at-hand.
Change is achieved at the code level on public blockchains via forks. Hard forks radically change a protocol making previously illegal blocks/transactions legal. In order for a hard-fork to be undertaken, nodes and users must upgrade to the latest versions of the protocol.
When Ethereum hard-forked to undo a $57 million hack of The DAO, an organization based on Ethereum smart contracts, a split-chain transpired. Ethereum Classic was born, and has enjoyed success considering how the project came to fruition.
With Bitcoiners suspecting a hard-fork could transpire as early as August 2nd, some have wondered if that digital currency system would split like Ethereum has, and thus resulting in something that, for purposes of this article, might be called, ‘Bitcoin Classic.’
But, according to the recent poll on Twitter which garnered 1,776 votes at time of writing, this is not a major concern for many users of the digital currency released in 2008 by Satoshi Nakamoto.
Litecoin, which has long been marketed as the ‘digital silver’ to Bitcoin’s ‘digital gold’, might serve as a better example of what will happen when Bitcoin forks.
Litecoin, based on similar code to Bitcoin, soft-forked in April to a new model, called ‘SegWit’. The fork seemed like it might be contentious, at least from the outside, but the fork resulted in no split. In other words, no ‘Litecoin Classic.’
Discussion about a Bitcoin split has increased in recent weeks as a new code-change proposal, called UASF BIP148, has gained momentum.
A UASF refers to a User Activated Soft Fork, whereby the activation time of a soft four occurs on a specific date and is carried out via full nodes. Claiming to raise the voices of the ‘economic majority’ in a distributed computer network, a UASF requires industry support, as well as coordination. Proponents pushing the BIP148 have chosen August 1 as their activation date.
If the above-linked Twitter survey is to be believed, the fork could go smoothly.
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