One of the strengths of cryptocurrency like Bitcoin is its open, decentralized nature. The code itself is open source, as released by the anonymous “Satoshi Nakamoto” back in 2009. Anyone can “fork the code” – copy it and create their own cryptocurrency, tweaking the software however one wants. This has been done many thousands of times in the last decade and has resulted in an overwhelming number of cryptocurrencies, many of which are very interesting to speculate about but have very little real-life relevance. Bitcoin (BTC), far and away is still the king-of-the-hill of crypto.
In 2017, for the first time ever, a different kind of fork happened with Bitcoin. This one happened internally and contentiously. Some history: In 2017, Bitcoin’s network was full of transactions, just like it is today. Similar to recent months, network fees then were rising dramatically as people looking to send transactions as quickly as possible bid up the fees to ridiculous levels. For instance, within the last week, I paid about $10 worth of BTC to send a transaction. This is CRAZY expensive for sending crypto, which shouldn’t cost more than one or two cents or even less.
The Bitcoin programmers and community could not come to an agreement on how to scale up Bitcoin to meet demand and keep the fees low. One side offered a simple solution they said was Satoshi’s original vision – increase the block size. The block size is a technical term describing the number of bytes maximum that a “block” can be when it’s “mined” onto the “blockchain”. The blockchain being the major innovation that makes Bitcoin such an important development – it’s a public ledger of all the Bitcoin transactions that have occurred since the beginning. The blockchain is decentralized and distributed. There are thousands of copies of it across the world. This distribution is why Bitcoin cannot be taken down by world governments – it exists in too many places at once.
Anyway, when Satoshi created Bitcoin, there was no limit on block size. Later, Satoshi added a block size of one megabyte apparently without telling anyone. Satoshi later disappeared from public view and hasn’t been seen since. Why did Satoshi add the limit? There is speculation, but apparently Satoshi never explained it. Regardless, it exists and some in the Bitcoin community say it should be raised. The larger the block size, the more transactions can be fit in a block, which are generally mined onto the blockchain roughly every ten minutes. More transactions per block means more transaction volume can be handled at once and therefore, lower network fees. Simple, right?
Bitcoin mining doesn’t actually look like this.
Unfortunately, not everyone agreed. Another group was against the raising of the block size, instead proposing much more complex ideas including “Segregated Witness” and “Lightning Network” as solutions. I don’t have the ability to explain them, so I won’t try. Suffice it to say, they implemented “Segregated Witness” and its effect on the network fees was completely unremarkable. The much ballyhooed “Lightning Network” is still in development, so the jury is out on that. The two sides could not come to an agreement, so for the first time in its history, on August 1st of 2017, Bitcoin (BTC) had a “chain fork” aka “chain split” and Bitcoin Cash (BCH) was born. Instantly, everyone who had Bitcoin (BTC) also had the same amount of the then-new Bitcoin Cash (BCH). I prefer to call the event a schism however, because outside the technical aspects, from the human perspective, a chain split resembles a religious schism. Two groups of people, who previously agreed, come to irreconcilable differences, and go their separate ways. Whether political, sports, or crypto – human nature appears to be very tribal. For better or for worse.
Are we better off or worse off for having Bitcoin Cash (BCH) and Bitcoin (BTC)? It depends on your perspective. I think it would have been better if the BTC programmers just increased the block size, fixing the problem of the full network and the ridiculous fees. Unfortunately they would not do this, and so Bitcoin Cash had to happen. However, the increased competition has done nothing to get Bitcoin’s programmers to fix the problem, meanwhile, network fees for sending Bitcoin (BTC) are on the rise – just like happened in 2017. Just one week ago, the average fee was over $10! As I write this, it’s over $6. Most people buying Bitcoin (BTC) are unaware of the insane fees, because they are buying on sites like Coinbase and apps like Cash App and if they never move the funds off those platforms, they never experience the insane network fee, so to them it’s an investment vehicle, not money.
In fact, this now-common viewpoint about Bitcoin (BTC) – that it is a “store of value” rather than “electronic cash” was not always the case and has been cultivated by its supporters in recent years. Satoshi’s whitepaper was clear. Bitcoin was supposed to be electronic cash, which also is a store of value. For years, Bitcoin’s network fees – paid by the sender – were no more than a penny’s worth of BTC per transaction. There are some interesting theories that suggest old-money companies like Mastercard via its membership in the “Digital Currency Group” are funding key Bitcoin programmers by investing in a company called Blockstream, who put those programmers on its payroll several years ago, after which all the trouble started. Another investor of Blockstream is AXA Group, a massive global bank. Satoshi created Bitcoin to undermine the old money institutions like Mastercard and big bankers like AXA, but now they are funding its key developers?
Which will be the “true” Bitcoin Cash?
Whether its through a conspiracy to make Bitcoin less useful in the marketplace or just the inaction that sometimes can result from being the king-of-the-hill, Bitcoin has not been fixed. It’s still broken due to network congestion driving up the fees. Bitcoin Cash (BCH) is a much more useful alternative than Bitcoin, primarily because its network fees are what they should be, around one cent’s worth of BCH. Of course, plenty of cryptos have low fees, like DASH, but Bitcoin Cash has had the staying power to keep in the top ten while DASH – once as high ranked as #5 by market cap, has fallen down the charts.
Unlike DASH, however, Bitcoin Cash’s existence so far – behind the scenes – has been somewhat dramatic. DASH has never had a chain split, but Bitcoin Cash had its first in November of 2018, just over a year after it came into existence as I described above. Bitcoin Cash has regular upgrades every six months that require a “hard fork” of the currency. A “hard fork” means that all users must upgrade their software to continue to use the network, whereas a “soft fork” is a software upgrade that is optional and backwards-compatible with previous versions. Hard forks are an ideal time for disagreeing parties to attempt a chain split and create a new competitor and so in November 2018, a group led by an Australian man claiming – without evidence – to be Satoshi Nakamoto, decided they were going to have themselves a schism and “Bitcoin Satoshi’s Vision” aka Bitcoin SV (BSV) was created from the Bitcoin Cash chain. This was the first time Bitcoin Cash had a schism of its own. However, it may not be the last.
I apologize for all the backstory, but I feel it’s necessary to tell it in that detail to bring new users up to speed on why things are happening. This electronic cash is like nothing we’ve ever seen before and there is a learning curve. As a founder of Bitcoin Embassy New Hampshire, I don’t want people to be in the dark if they don’t want to be, and a little bit of knowledge is useful to those willing to learn. Sure, you can ignore all this stuff and probably everything will be fine, but there is a chance of some confusing things happening, and so we bring our story to the current day:
Two years after Bitcoin Cash schisming into Bitcoin Cash (BCH) and Bitcoin SV (BSV), Bitcoin Cash is once again facing another looming chain split on November 15th. Plus, it’s looking like the possible drama-factor could be higher than ever. What’s happening this time? Bitcoin Cash’s most visible programmer, Amaury Sechet, has called for an “upgrade” to send 8% of the mining rewards to the Bitcoin Cash programmers. Mining rewards go to the miner who successfully “mines” a given block to the blockchain. The rewards are currently made up of the 6.25 BCH “block reward” that are “mined” into existence with each block and the total amount of transaction fees collected for that block’s transactions. Normally miners keep 100% of the mining rewards, but Sechet’s proposal changes that to 92%. So far, the miners who are currently mining are signalling their opposition to the planned “upgrade”, so there’s a chance it won’t get off the ground and nothing will change.
Cointelegraph’s Artist’s Interpretation of a Bitcoin Hash War
However, the supporters of the 8% programmers’ fee could turn on a bunch of mining power on the day of the possible split and then it could actually happen. The supporters of the 8% fee are being referred to in various places as “Bitcoin Cash ABC” (BCHA) and they have their own software. The opposition, who are running different software, are referred to frequently as “Bitcoin Cash Node” (BCHN). Neither of those names are particularly catchy, but the important thing to note here, is both of these camps are going to be fighting over the name “Bitcoin Cash”. Because crypto is decentralized, it will be up to the market to decide. In recent days, various exchanges and other cryptocurrency service providers have been announcing their plans on how they will be handling the possible schism. As you might imagine, it’s a patchwork. Many are preemptively choosing a winner and siding with BCHN. Others are saying they will be watching the situation closely and awarding the “Bitcoin Cash” (BCH) moniker and ticker symbol to whichever chain wins the mining “hash war” that could occur, based on various factors.
It wasn’t really a big deal when Bitcoin SV split off from Bitcoin Cash, as Bitcoin SV never tried to call itself “Bitcoin Cash”, so as confusing as chain splits are to the new user, at least there wasn’t confusion in naming. Now with two competing groups vying for the Bitcoin Cash name, the potential for confusion is very high. So what can you do if you have Bitcoin Cash (BCH)? Here are some possible options:
Do nothing. If the chain splits, some wallets will support both chains. A chain split means whatever amount of BCH you have at the time of the split, you’ll get the exact same amount of the newly split coin, whatever your wallet decides to call it. Unless your wallet won’t be supporting one of them, in which case you technically still have the new coins, but may have to move your balance to a wallet that is supporting the split to see both balances.
Sell off your BCH and avoid the whole thing. If you sell before the possible split, you avoid any drama but also avoid the possible benefit of having both new BCH competitors after the possible split.
Move all your BCH to the same wallet. If you’re expecting a chain split and have BCH in more than one wallet, you may want to move it all together to the same wallet before the 15th, preferably a wallet that is planning to support both coins.
Move all your BCH to an exchange. Note, it’s risky to hold crypto on an exchange. That said, if you want to get both coins at the time of the possible schism and have the immediate ability to trade away the coins you don’t want, you ought to send your BCH to an exchange that will be supporting both split coins, like Coinex.
Whatever you decide to do, you may want to do it before November 15th as many wallets, exchanges, and other services will be freezing all BCH transactions as November 15th gets closer, in preparation for the possible schism. Also, if the chain split occurs and a new BCH competitor is born, the new coin will not have what is called “replay protection” and the “replay attack” will be possible. This makes it dangerous to send BCH transactions until wallet providers can update their software to ensure safety or until the coins themselves add replay protection. It would be wise to be patient after a chain fork, don’t move your funds, and stay connected to the crypto community to learn more as it develops.
If you’re in the Monadnock region of New Hampshire, please join our Telegram chat and our Meetup group. If you have any questions it’s always a good idea to crowdsource the answers as in situations like this, opinions can range. No one is an expert and no one can predict what might happen.
I hope you found this article informative and thank you for reading this far. Good luck with the fork – if it even happens!
Well over one hundred freedom-loving people gathered on Saturday in Keene’s Central Square to protest both Keene’s mask mandate and “His Excellency’s” recent “orders” mandating groups over 100 to wear masks, or else. There were some great speeches including former law enforcement officer Dan LeClair – running for NH Senate District 10 – who struck at the root, saying, “It’s about government taking away our right to decide for ourselves what we should do with our own bodies…there is nothing greater than an individual’s right to freedom.”
It’s worth noting that this event took place after “His Excellency” Chris Sununu “ordered” any scheduled event over 100 people to have face masks, or else the event organizers will be hit with misdemeanor charges, and we definitely hit over 100 people. One count near its peak had 120. Big thanks to 8.3L organizer David Lheureux for putting it together.
At the rally in Central Square on June 13th, Alani Besson, a Keene native, calls out the Keene police and Cheshire sheriff for pandering to the first Keene BLM event and delivers the best speech thus far in all the New Hampshire Black Lives Matter events I’ve attended.
Thank you to Dave Kirkpatrick from “November and Beyond” for the video!
My partner Steven and I walk through the streets of Portsmouth, New Hampshire after a unique experience attempting to dine out.
Documenting a walk through downtown Portsmouth on a Wednesday afternoon, June 3, 2020. Some people are wearing masks because they are required to by dictate of Chris Sununu. He will shut down the businesses if they don’t comply. But it’s really depressing to me to see people like this and to be required to do it myself to enter certain businesses. I want to live life! I understand life has risks, and I am willing to take this one.
Best protestor at the first big right to assemble protest; “FEAR IS THE REAL VIRUS”
The last couple of months have been disappointing, even for an optimist like me. As a tremendous overreaction to a virus, a medical authoritarian state has arisen across the planet. Some government gangs have gone farther than others with this COVID crackdown, but it’s been common in most places across the United States to see restaurants, bars, and various other businesses partially or fully shut down in response to the “orders” of men and women calling themselves “governors”.
As one might expect, with only the ability to provide take-out or delivered food, many restaurants closed temporarily rather than offer those limited services. Some have since shuttered permanently including several local eateries, one of which had been in business over two decades here in Keene, the popular Elm City Bagels.
Even the local newspaper, the Keene Sentinel, is asking for donations. They were already losing subscribers over the last two decades, but when a traditionally advertiser-supported media company starts asking for direct reader support, you know they are seeing some really tough times. Newspapers across the country are slashing jobs as advertisers are disappearing.
It’s not just newspapers, but radio and television are also suffering from a major advertiser downturn. I spend my mornings calling talk radio stations across the country to pitch my show to them, and many are seeing large drops in ad revenue. Radio companies have been laying off employees and asking others to take pay cuts. The next step will be some stations going out of business entirely and selling their assets for pennies on the dollar.
These are just a few examples of how business is taking it on the chin economically, which leads to personal destruction in the lives of the owners and employees. Those who advocate for the forced shutdowns say things like “if it just saves one life”. What about the lives of those people who have already committed suicide due to their life drastically changing for the worse? How about the people who are being physically beaten by government agents in places like New York City or Uganda, just for leaving their homes?
Masked Concord Gang Members Threaten Parents, Kids at Playground
We can’t be sure how many people would choose to put these state “guidelines” into place if they didn’t think they were mandatory. I spoke with a local business owner recently about the idea that the governor’s “orders” are actually just suggestions. I even had an attorney who was interested in taking the case if the owner opened up in spite of the governor’s orders. Despite having an attorney’s interest, the owner was not willing to have to face down the government gang.
They government people can be a scary bunch, and everyone knows that they have the power to ruin your life and business if they want. As we’ve seen with the salon owners and barbers who’ve bravely stood up against “the state” people across the country, most of them roll over and submit once their “license” gets pulled and they are then facing hundreds of dollars a day in fines. Why would they pay the fines? Obedience to the system. Certainly, they know on some level that if they don’t pay – men with guns calling themselves “the police” will show up and stop them from opening their business.
Whether people obey because they actually agree with the lockdowns and are afraid of catching the virus, or whether they obey because they are afraid of the state gang members’ retribution, the common element is fear.
Fear is the opposite of love. It is a killer. Fear kills dreams and opportunities. It kills fun and enthusiasm. Fear kills inspiration and hope. I could surely continue this list, but in this bizarre world we’ve found ourselves in, fear is killing the economy and freedom and the people calling themselves “the state” or “the federal government” are feeding on the fear and destruction. Many people are begging the state people to rule them and to rule harder – with an iron fist – if it just saves one life.
Did New Hampshire people choose death over freedom?
It’s been particularly disappointing to witness the effects of fear here in the supposed “Live Free or Die” state. Sure, there have been some great protests with hundreds attending at the state house, but we haven’t had much in the way of resistance against this tyranny from businesses, the activity of which is what gives life to the economy. Though one NH salon owner has this week filed a lawsuit against “HIS EXCELLENCY” governor Chris Sununu’s office, even this “pushback” still acknowledges that the state is in charge. Suing works within their system, acknowledging its legitimacy. It’s asking one tentacle of the monsterous state to stop the other one from choking you to death.
The salon owner suing the governor’s office isn’t wrong for doing so. She believes it’s her only option. The state reopening “guidance”, which confusingly are also termed “orders” to make them sound mandatory, are strangling her salon and will put her under. To simply reopen her business in whatever way she wants, ignoring the guidelines that would harm her, is to her not even an option. However, that is the solution to this medical authoritarian tyranny: ignore the state, damn the consequences, and open your doors, business owners!
Belief in and obedience to the idea of “the state” is what has gotten us to this point in the first place. Whenever the first “business license” was created by the state gang, freedom-loving business owners should have pushed back and refused to get one. No one should have to beg for permission to offer a product or service in a free market. Sadly, for whatever reason, they got the licenses and subjected themselves to the arbitrary rule of the state gang, consenting to the idea of a regulated marketplace. Now, when the state gang says jump, they do what they are told, or men with guns will destroy their livelihood.
If enough business owners opened up, and it wouldn’t even need to be a majority of them, maybe just ten percent – the state could not stop them all. If they refused to pay the fines, their freedom-loving customers would support them, surely. If the arrests come, let them. If the state gang wants to show the people how violent they are, let’s show people the violence clearly on video. We don’t need the idea of “the state” or coercive government. It’s important to realize, “the state” is just an idea. One in which people believe so strongly they’re willing to kill for it, if necessary, but ultimately a mass delusion. The idea of the state doesn’t make life better. The state destroys life and feed off of productivity. The state propagates fear and war. If people are afraid, the state’s power grows. War is the health of the state, and surprise! The government goons and its lapdog media are talking about the COVID thing like it’s a war.
Order your “The Real Virus is Fear” Shirt from CustomInk. We don’t make anything on this – just wanted to share the design with you.
The federal gang are also printing money at record levels, already multiple trillions added to the debt and likely more on the way, worse than any war in U.S. history. While it looks on the surface like they are helping – free money is arriving in bank accounts – there is a cost to this, and it’s called inflation and possibly hyperinflation.
The state cultists want to remind you of why you need them. But you really don’t. If you do want the state in your life, bend over, cause they’re gonna give it all to you as hard and fast as they can get away with. Just like they did after 9/11, but worse this time.
Though I will continue to attend them, protests are just begging. Free people refuse to obey. Open up. Stop asking permission. Do the right thing, before it’s too late.
Oh, and if you love liberty, get to New Hampshire ASAP and help us. If now isn’t the time to migrate for liberty, when will it be time?
New Hampshire’s Longest Running Regular Libertarian Social Meetup
The last couple of weeks have been nuts. We’ve seen authoritarianism rising globally at a rapid clip, using health as the excuse and scaring people into total obedience and isolation. It’s tragic. In New Hampshire and several other states, restaurants and bars have been told they aren’t allowed to serve customers inside their establishments with the exception of take out and delivery. Other businesses are having people work from home and “social distancing” has been put in place as the new normal. In other cases, like California, total lockdowns are now in place. In NH, an “emergency order” was issued by the state governor, Chris Sununu, who – no joke – is actually referred to as “HIS EXCELLENCY” in the order which purportedly bans any gathering of over fifty people.
It’s an outrageous order and contrary to a basic right of humans, which is the right to assemble. It’s also a violation of the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. In order for many humans to be happy, they need to be around other people. We are a social animal. Now the people calling themselves “the state” or “the government” have decided to threaten everyone with violence if they don’t do as they are told and OBEY – for their own good, of course.
Normally, libertarians are skeptical of the things they are told by government goons, however we’ve seen yet another schism in the movement in the last few weeks over this Coronavirus scare. Apparently if an authoritarian puts on a lab coat then many libertarians will fall under their spell.
I don’t know if Coronavirus is the threat the government and media are making it out to be. I do know this, however:
1. Politicians and bureaucrats lie. There’s no reason to believe they are telling the truth now. There is a long history of governments manufacturing a crisis and spreading fear in order to attain more power. We saw this in a big way prior to Coronavirus in the hysterical paranoia fostered by the state after 9/11. As a result we saw the rise of “Homeland Security” and the further elimination of freedom. The response to Coronavirus is even worse. In some cases like San Francisco people are under total lockdowns. They also use the term “lockdown” in prison.
2. Media benefits when it propagates fear. “If it bleeds, it leads!” News is a business. They have advertisers, so the more people they can get to tune in, the more valuable the ad space. If people are in a state of fear, they are more likely to hang on through that next commercial break. Plus, mainstream news sources depend on government for its press releases and usually incorporate them, verbatim, into their on-air copy. Though in theory their job is to expose political corruption, if they are too good at this, the state agents will not talk to them any longer and then they won’t get “the scoop”, so any critique of government from mainstream media is usually highly limited.
3. Whenever government takes more freedoms, it doesn’t cede that ground back to liberty after the “crisis” has ended.
Keene Bitcoin Meetup
Government gangsters say it and the media propagates it. As a result, people are scared to death of another iteration of the flu that as of this writing, has infected just over 250,000 people globally – according to numbers provided BY THE STATE. Some libertarians believe the governments are downplaying the numbers to keep people calm. Others believe the state agents are inflating the numbers to scare people more. Who knows what the truth is.
I do know this, people are obedient and more than willing to do what they are ordered by people wearing fancy hats, uniforms, and lab coats. They are easily frightened into giving up their freedoms, all for the promise that they’ll be able to continue to suck air.
However, what is the point of living if you can’t make your own choices?
If people across New Hampshire don’t stand up and take back their liberties, then we no longer deserve the “live free or die” slogan. To that end, in spite of Sununu’s order, the longest-running weekly social gathering of libertarians in New Hampshire, “Social Sundays” will continue. Previously held at Local Burger on Main St, it has moved to the Bitcoin Embassy NH located at 661 Marlboro St. in Keene. The new start time is now 5pm. Attend at your own risk and bring your own food and drink. If the event gets to over 51 people a special prize will be awarded. No cops allowed.