On Tuesday by 12:00:00 UTC, the Bitcoin Cash initiated an upgrade (hard fork) to increase the size of the BCH block from 8MB to 32 MB. The upgrade also added new OP codes to its codebase.
Bigger Blocks for Bitcoin Cash (BCH)
This hard fork to raise block size has been anticipated since November last year when it was first announced and it is sort of a big deal among cryptocurrency enthusiasts. In comparison, Bitcoin (BTC) block size is 1 MB.
One advantage of a bigger block size is reduced transaction fees and information on Bitcoin Cash blog confirms that the hard fork is expected to reduce transaction fees. However, there are some concerns about the security of the much bigger block sizes–four times its former size.
‘Conservative’ Bitcoin and ‘Liberal’ Bitcoin Cash
There’s always been a bit of an understated disagreement between bitcoin core developers and bitcoin cash developers. Whereas the former tend to maintain the core features of the bitcoin blockchain, the latter are more open to changes which they believe would improve the system.
The bitcoin cash developers tend to support bigger blocks. Lead developer for Bitcoin ABC Amaury Séchet said last year that “people do not want bigger blocks for the sake of bigger blocks but for the value they bring to users,” justifying the need for bigger block sizes. In March he claimed that the had fork will introduce “PayPal-like volume of payments” and “ethereum-like characteristics”.
Smart Contracts on BCH amid security concerns
Another major feature of this latest hard fork is the addition of OP codes that allows smart contracts to its codebase. Smart contracts have long been associated with Ethereum gives an opportunity for developers to create several use cases of blockchain and diverse forms of cryptocurrency transactions.
But smart contracts come with its own security challenges as has been witnessed in some projects built under the ethereum blockchain. Bitcoin does not support smart contracts as Satoshi Nakamoto removed this capability from the bitcoin protocol during its development. Bitcoin Cash would be reintroducing the OP codes albeit gradually as security concerns are addressed. The data carrier limit for the OP_Return also increased to 220 bytes.
Bitcoin ABC recommends all node operators to update to version 0.17.1. which supports the hard fork while Bitcoin XT and Bitcoin Unlimited have also released supported versions of their software.