What is the difference between 'Bitcoin' and 'Bitcoin Cash'?

Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash "forked" in 2017 and this caused long-lasting effects. Here we explain how BTC and BCH are different and why the fork occurred.

The History

In August 2017, the Bitcoin Blockchain endured an event called a 'hard fork'. In technological vernacular, this term is usually used to refer to an upgrade or change in protocol. In this case, however, there were several opposing groups disagreeing on how to proceed with the development of Bitcoin.

Two opposing parties existed - One group was composed mainly of a large group of Bitcoin miners, and the other was made up of the majority of the Bitcoin user community, and Bitcoin's core developers. These two groups disagreed on how Bitcoin should scale its protocol. The miners wanted Bitcoin to use bigger blocks, to allow more data (transactions) to fit into each block that is mined. The users and developers wanted to implement Segregated Witness (SegWit), an upgrade that would compress transaction data, so more transactions could fit in each block.

Their goals were the same, but neither was willing to compromise on how to get there. So Bitcoin forked into two different currencies, each sharing a common transaction history from before the fork. Bitcoin Cash is the chain supported by the miners who wanted larger blocks, and the regular Bitcoin chain is the one supported by the core developers.

On the day of the fork, every BTC address suddenly had a twin existing on the BCH network. If at the time of the fork, an address had 0.45 Bitcoin, then its twin on the BCH network had 0.45 Bitcoin Cash after the fork.

What's the Difference?

For the practical intents and purposes of most users, there is very little difference. However, it is imperative to understand that Bitcoin (BTC) and Bitcoin Cash (BCH) are now two entirely separate currencies. Mistakenly sending BTC to a BCH address, or vice-versa will frequently result in the loss of those funds. Bitcoin is as different from Bitcoin Cash as Litecoin is from Dogecoin.

It is possible to rescue funds if you have accidentally sent BTC to a BCH address, or vice-versa. If this sounds like you, please contact our support team so we can address your specific situation and try to help you get your funds back: support@exodus.io

Bitcoin Cash will tend to have lower fees when both networks are loaded with transactions, but Bitcoin Cash also doesn't have as much community acceptance, so there are fewer wallets and exchanges supporting it compared to Bitcoin.

Bitcoin has much greater security and stability, as there are more mining support and infrastructure behind it -  Bitcoin currently has around 4.5x more full nodes than Bitcoin Cash, and thus a more distributed network. But the tradeoff is time: when the Bitcoin network is saturated, transactions tend to take longer than Bitcoin Cash transactions to be confirmed and have much higher fees.

Download the Exodus Bitcoin wallet and the Exodus Bitcoin Cash wallet to see the difference yourself.

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