Bitcoin Cash (BCH) today underwent a hard fork of its own, aimed at altering the coin’s Difficulty Adjustment Algorithm to make block times faster and more stable. Will this update make BCH even more attractive amidst BTC’s recent network congestion?
Today, November 13th, the Bitcoin Cash blockchain hard-forked as part of a planned update to improve the stability and speed of BCH’s block times.
As of block 504032, Bitcoin Cash network has upgraded to a new, more responsive Difficulty Adjustment Algorithm. Well Done Everyone!
— Bitcoin ABC (@Bitcoin_ABC) November 13, 2017
In the immediate aftermath of the fork, Bitcoin Cash difficulty dropped markedly. However there have been no reports of major incidents so far:
TREZOR Wallet backends for Bitcoin Cash are on new chain with improved difficulty adjustment. Everything seems to work fine.
— slush (@slushcz) November 13, 2017
This update aims to lock in the new chain’s block times at approximately 10 minutes, which should lead to faster transactions through mitigating block time volatility.
The fork isn’t a contentious one, as the entire BCH community is expected to unanimously upgrade to the new chain.
— Bitcoin Cash Fans (@BitcoinCashFans) November 13, 2017
The Emergency Difficulty Adjustment (EDA) system is unique to Bitcoin Cash, having no counterpart in Bitcoin. It was designed to keep the BCH blockchain going by lowering the hashrate, if it had (as anticipated) only minority mining support.
While the current EDA was configured well enough to get the BCH chain off the ground after the August 1st hard fork, it’s been working imperfectly for BCH miners as of late, leading to today’s hard fork update.
Bitcoin ABC (the main protocol behind BCH) developers explained the move in a recent blog post:
“The original Bitcoin Cash ‘EDA’ allowed Bitcoin Cash to survive as a minority chain but produces wild fluctuations of hashrate. This is problematic because it prevents consistently fast confirmations for users, and radically shifts the coin issuance schedule.”
“Several proposals to improve the DAA were put forth. We appreciate these proposals and have reviewed them all. After careful consideration, we have made the decision to implement a proposal from Bitcoin ABC lead developer Amaury Sechet (more details on this proposal below).”
A Closer Look at the New Bitcoin Cash Algo
In considering how to fix BCH’s block time volatility, the project’s devs tested three different potential algorithms:
After testing, the BCH team concluded that all three algorithms generally performed within the same ballpark: their mean block time was 10 minutes.
Sechet’s D601 ended up being chosen by the devs, as they conservatively determined this algorithm had “the least risk.”
Some improvements that will come along with D601 are listed in the picture below:
What’s your take? Does this DAA adjustment bode well for the future of Bitcoin Cash? Let us know where you stand in the comments below!
Images via Bitcoin ABC, clix5