What is the difference between Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash?
Looking at Bitcoin vs Bitcoin Cash is a good place to begin. As you may know, BTC first launched all the way back in January 2009 – and although it was heralded as an exciting new peer-to-peer electronic cash system that could challenge banks and the financial ecosystem as we know it, potential pitfalls quickly started to emerge.
One of the biggest downsides was Bitcoin’s scalability. This blockchain can only handle up to seven transactions a second because its block sizes are limited to 1MB. For crypto advocates, this was a huge concern – how on earth was this cryptocurrency supposed to compete with the likes of Visa, which can process 65,000 transaction messages a second?
There was an acknowledgement that some sort of adjustment was needed so Bitcoin could scale and keep up with the growing demand anticipated in the years to come. But there was a lot of disagreement on what these improvements would look like – prompting a band of miners and developers to initiate a hard fork in August 2017. Bitcoin Cash was born.
BCH has a block size of 8MB – eight times bigger than BTC – meaning that it can handle considerably more transactions on a daily basis (up to 2 million, according to some estimates). Payments can also be processed faster, eliminating the annoying waiting times and backlogs sometimes seen on Bitcoin’s network, and they’re often a lot cheaper to complete too. Bitcoin Cash is increasingly becoming a popular payment method among retailers who accept crypto.
Hower, do remember that it isn’t all sunshine and rainbows in the Bitcoin Cash vs Bitcoin debate. There are some concerns about the security implications of having bigger block sizes. Critics also note how BCH’s market cap is 97.5 per cent lower than BTC’s – and this indicates that the coin is yet to gain widespread acceptance in the crypto community.
What is the difference between Bitcoin and Bitcoin SV?
Moving away from the Bitcoin Cash vs Bitcoin debate, we have another altcoin to worry about: Bitcoin SV (the SV stands for Satoshi’s Vision, in case you’re wondering).
If you thought that the developer disagreements would end after BCH forked from BTC, sadly you’re wrong. Technical upgrades that were proposed to the Bitcoin Cash blockchain didn’t attract universal support – namely plans to ensure transactions had a specific order within a block, and a goal to deliver smart contract functionality. This resulted in yet another hard fork, this time from the BCH blockchain. So what is Bitcoin SV? Well, its vow is to strictly follow Satoshi Nakamoto’s white paper for Bitcoin, which was published all the way back in October 2008.
When it comes to Bitcoin vs Bitcoin SV, a crucial difference is the block size, which at launch purported to be 128 times greater than BTC’s paltry 1MB. BSV claims it can “replace every payment system in the world with a better user experience, a cheaper merchant cost, and a safer level of security”. Data suggests that transacting on Bitcoin is almost 11,000 times more expensive than through Bitcoin SV – and this could be a crucial deciding factor for those who want to slash their costs.
But the battle of the hard forks – Bitcoin Cash vs Bitcoin SV – has been ugly at times. Bitcoin SV’s founder is Craig Wright, an entrepreneur who has sparked controversy after repeatedly claiming that he is Satoshi Nakamoto, Bitcoin’s pseudonymous inventor. He’s been accused of being a fraud – and whereas BCH is available from major crypto exchanges, platforms including Binance have taken the extraordinary step of delisting BSV altogether. Last year, the company said Bitcoin SV didn’t meet the high standard it expected – adding that trading pairs were being suspended to protect users.
According to CoinMarketCap, Bitcoin Cash is the world’s fifth-largest cryptocurrency in terms of market capitalisation, putting it behind Bitcoin, Ethereum, Tether and XRP. Cardano is sixth and Bitcoin SV is seventh – with about $900m separating the two forked coins.
What is Bitcoin SV’s price in relation to Bitcoin? Well, there’s quite a big gap. At the time of writing, one BSV is worth $179 and one BTC is worth $9,205.30 – meaning it would cost 51 BSV to get your hands on a single Bitcoin.
BTC vs BCH vs BSV: the verdict
Overall, you’ve got to wonder whether the developers who have been orchestrating all of these hard forks have considered the possibility that this will make the crypto world even more confusing and difficult to understand for everyday consumers. They all have similar names – and at times, it can feel like you need a PhD in cryptography to get your head around the technical nuances.
Bitcoin is, by a country mile, the bigger of the cryptocurrencies – and it doesn’t seem likely that BCH or BSV will pose much of a threat to its standing. In the coming years, it’ll be interesting to see whether or not Bitcoin Cash and Bitcoin SV are able to co-exist successfully in the crypto ecosystem, or whether one will begin to lose traction among users. With more than 5,700 altcoins in existence – and several other digital assets attempting to offer low-cost, scalable, retail-friendly payment methods – there’s a lot of competition.
Based on what’s happened over the past three years, we also can’t rule out the possibility that there will be even more hard forks from Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash or Bitcoin SV. Although one of the benefits of decentralisation is that one party doesn’t end up getting full control of a cryptocurrency or its blockchain, the obvious drawback is that it’s usually difficult to get everyone to agree on the best course of action for making improvements.
There are now three main flavours of Bitcoin, each of which has some technical differences, as well as communities which tend to favour different goals. All of them support a range of different third party tools and additional functions.
- Bitcoin SV (BSV): Aims to see the BSV blockchain used as a tool for governments and businesses. Its community is largely focused on keeping Bitcoin SV as close to the original version of Bitcoin as possible, and spreading the word that Craig Wright is Satoshi Nakamoto.
- Bitcoin Cash (BCH): Aims to see BCH used as digital cash. Its community is largely focused on encouraging merchant and user adoption of BCH and other tokens as alternative currencies
- Bitcoin (BTC): Aims to see BTC used as digital gold, as well as a currency. Its community is largely focused on encouraging people to buy and hold, rather than spend, Bitcoin.
Different Use Cases: BTC is not a payment network
Even though BCH and BSV can theoretically process transactions much faster than the original BTC, the block size has so far had little impact on transaction volumes. The transaction volume on both blockchains is still significantly lower than on BTC.
BCH and BSV liquidity is also significantly lower than for BTC. This is mainly due to the different use cases: BCH and BSV are payment networks made for faster transaction speeds and therefore compete with payment service providers such as Visa or Paypal – tough competition.
BTC, often referred to as “digital gold,” is not used as a means of payment but as an investment vehicle – even though that may not have been the creator’s intention. That’s why transaction speed is not that relevant for BTC. Instead, the long-term growth prospective of the asset is what matters. For this reason, BTC also has significantly more liquidity that BCH and BSV and will remain the leading cryptocurrency for the foreseeable future.