After squabbling for years over how to fix the growing pains of the world’s first decentralized cryptocurrency, one of the sides in the ongoing Bitcoin Geek War has finally made a bold move. This week, on August 1st, a small number of the “big blockers” performed a “hard fork” and broke away from the main Bitcoin blockchain, creating a new currency, “Bitcoin Cash“. This had the added benefit of giving everyone who already held Bitcoin an equal amount of the new Bitcoin Cash! Ever heard the phrase, “there’s no such thing as a free lunch”? Bitcoin’s first fork into two has proven that statement wrong. Read on to learn more about this historic week in Bitcoin.
The blockchain is the distributed, decentralized ledger that contains every transaction that has ever occurred on the Bitcoin network. It’s approximately 150 GB in size. Since the hard fork, there are now two “Bitcoin” blockchains competing for market dominance. Both of them have the exact same transactions from the beginning of Bitcoin nearly a decade ago, running until August 1st, 2017, when at just after 2pm Eastern time the first “Bitcoin Cash” block was mined into existence, at greater than 1 MB – in fact, its size was about 4 MB.
Since the original Bitcoin blockchain has a 1 MB limit per block, it was at this point that the one blockchain became two. The supermajority of miners are still mining the original Bitcoin chain, let’s call it “Bitcoin Core” or BTC. However, a small portion of miners have joined the mining of the new “Bitcoin Cash” or BCH. If you thought Bitcoin Core’s growing pains were challenging, take a look at how Bitcoin Cash had to start:
Bitcoin mining doesn’t actually look like this.
In Bitcoin, there’s a thing called mining difficulty that is basically designed to increase as more people enter mining and compete to discover scarce Bitcoins. However, should people leave the mining game, the difficulty will decrease. In BCH’s case, when they started their fork, their network was at the same difficulty level as BTC, but with a fraction of the total mining power. That’s why it took six hours for the BCH miners to find their first block! Normally Bitcoin blocks are expected to be found every ten minutes. So, this means BCH transactions were, in the beginning, taking hours to confirm! They are as of this writing, still taking longer than BTC transactions.
Worse still, no one who wanted to sell their newfound BCH was easily able to do so for at least the first couple days of its existence. Due to concerns about certain technical attacks that are possible in the time after a fork, cryptocurrency exchanges were extra cautious before allowing BCH deposits to trading accounts. However, while they weren’t allowing people to deposit BCH, they WERE allowing them to trade it. Huh? How can one trade something on an exchange to which one can’t deposit? Remember, after the fork, the people with BTC in their exchange accounts were given a balance of the same amount of BCH. (Except at the Bitfinex exchange, who screwed over their customers.) So, since trading was happening but no one could deposit, the price of the new BCH trended upward, even reaching as high as $800-$1,000 on some exchanges. (more…)
What’s that? You say Bitcoin has not been the front page feature story your local newspaper where you live? You must not live in Keene, New Hampshire – the capitol of real-life business acceptance of the world’s first cryptocurrency!
Reporter Paul Cuno-Booth did a thorough job interviewing various owners of the local bitcoin-accepting businesses about their reasons for backing the amazing decentralized currency, including Monadnock Makerspace founder Johnny Bolster, area computer tech Michael Gordon, Bob Maibusch of Pine Springs Golf Course, Ken Urbanski of Kirby’s Q, and Steve Wilder of Wilder Automotive. Cuno-Booth also focuses on the Shire Free Church’s media outreach along with our local meetup group for Bitcoiners and other cryptocurrency users and newbies, the Monadnock Decentralized Currency Network.
Monadnock Decentralized Currency Network Meetup at Rick’s Ice Cream
As we have reported here at Free Keene, according to CoinMap, Keene is the number one city in the world for bitcoin-accepting businesses per capita. Obviously not all businesses have the same results, of course. Though the golf course has yet to have a customer with bitcoin, Wilder Auto reports approximately a dozen customers regularly using bitcoin. Bolster, who also is the creator of the Portal Map, reported that he was able to sell ads to some new customers on his yearly map of area businesses, because he is accepting bitcoin as payment! That’s money that otherwise would have been left on the table had Bolster decided against accepting the cryptocurrency. (more…)
Before the 2017 Legislative Session began, Liberty Lobby LLC CEO Darryl W Perry began identifying bills of interest. This was initially done based solely on the titles of the Legislative Service Requests (LSRs), which are made public shortly after being filed. The text of the LSRs are then made available once the wording is finalized and has a signature from the sponsor. Not every LSR gets a bill number; a Representative or Senator can ask to withdraw the LSR. This often happens if there are multiple LSRs on the same topic with the same objective, or if the sponsor learns there is little chance of passage.
Of the LSRs marked as “of interest” by Liberty Lobby LLC, 39 were withdrawn before the text became available. Another 3 were withdrawn after the bill text became available, but before being assigned to a committee. Once committee hearing began in January, bills could not be withdrawn. However, the sponsor of SB82 (relative to labeling for maple syrup) requested the bill be deemed “Inexpedient to Legislate,” and the public hearing lasted less than one minute.
Originally, Keene, New Hampshire was the civil disobedience capitol of the libertarian movement. The new activist zeitgeist across New Hampshire and especially in the activism epicenter of Keene, is around cryptocurrency like Bitcoin and DASH. Spreading cryptocurrency is a great method for helping keep wealth in the community and hopefully enrich it, presuming Bitcoin and the others continue to rise against fiat currency like the US Dollar. Bitcoin has been very good at this over the years.
While some old organizations like some big banks and the governments of the world may feel threatened (every activism has its haters, if it is effective), cryptocurrency is rising worldwide and there’s little the old money people can do about it.
Even better, the real strength in Bitcoin and most of its competitors is that of decentralization. The more people get into decentralized currency, the more power transfers from the government and bankers’ hands to the hands of the people, like you.
To that end, the Shire Free Church entered the Bitcoin vending world in 2014 with a mission of spreading bitcoin and therefore, fostering peace. I believe cryptocurrencies are one of the greatest tools for working towards peace, as every dollar that transfers to bitcoin is one fewer with which governments can go to war with the world, or against their own people.
With all the Bitcoin drama going on, it’s easy to get distracted from what is important. What is important, whether Bitcoin stays on top or not, is the idea of cryptocurrency, of which Bitcoin was the first. While I personally believe Bitcoin can survive its internal turmoil, I could be wrong. After all, no one buys the Model T these days, even though it was the first car. The Model T is a clunker compared to what we have now.
Though there isn’t much mainstream media coverage of its alternatives, Bitcoin is far from the only cryptocurrency. There are hundreds of them, most based off of the original code for Bitcoin released by Satoshi Nakamoto, its anonymous creator.
One of those competitors that libertarian cryptocurrency enthusiasts in NH have been using recently instead of Bitcoin is DASH, or “Digital Cash”. Due to the growing pains Bitcoin has been experiencing, people here have been looking hard at other alternatives. DASH has started to appear in use at various libertarian market days across the state. Its fees are much lower than Bitcoin’s and DASH has an interesting governance structure that really sets it apart from many of the “me-too” cryptocurrencies out there vying for Bitcoin’s #1 position. (more…)
In a recent, in-depth article, I discussed the out-of-control fees to send bitcoin. The executive summary is that Bitcoin is somewhat broken due to the high fees that have been caused due to the Bitcoin network not being able to scale to consumer demand. The reason for this is because there has been an ongoing “geek war” for a couple years now behind the scenes that centers over some fundamental disagreements over how Bitcoin should handle its growing pains with scaling up. Meanwhile, the fees have been rising over the last six months and have killed off the previous usefulness that Bitcoin had for microtransactions, or even small dollar transactions. Again, see my original piece for more about the fee difficulties.
Now the ugly Bitcoin not-so-civil war that has been playing out behind the scenes on message boards, reddit, and social media for months and months is going to come into public view on August 1st. Here’s my non-technical explanation for what’s happening and how, if you’re a bitcoin holder or bitcoin-accepting merchant, it could affect you: (more…)