Bitcoin Cash Chain Split Seems Inevitable for the Long Term

While things are all but settled in BCH-land, some hints of what the future holds have been presented by both sides of the argument.

Rumors and threats of a so-called “reorganisation attack” have been circulating ever since the Bitcoin ABC camp took a massive hash lead on November 15th. Confident in bitcoin.com’s inability to sustain their significant hash power from fork day, SV supporters have been expecting a long-term continuation of the battle, resulting in an eventual long-fought win for their camp.

A reorganisation attack is possible if an attacker has a significant majority of hash power – by mining blocks locally, without transmitting them to the network, while simultaneously completing more hash work than the rest of the network combined, an attacker could theoretically rewrite the whole chain, going back weeks, or even months.

However, in recent developments, bitcoin ABC reintroduced a long-forgotten bitcoin feature in their latest 0.18.4 release – the so-called “checkpoints” – basically preventing such an attack from occurring on the ABC chain. This has been an unexpected twist, as checkpoints, added by Satoshi himself in 2010, have long been unsupported by bitcoin core, and never reintroduced in BCH until the current date.

This has put an end on SV-s ambitions to destroy the ABC chain and becoming the only Bitcoin cash chain to remain alive. We’ve yet to see a follow-up comment by Dr Craig S Wright, who just earlier this week claimed that minority chains should not allowed to survive. There are no apparent indications of capitulation – on the contrary, a shift in goalposts from “sprint” to “marathon” suggests that the SV camp is unlikely to concede.

In another expected move, Calvin Ayre, the other major Bitcoin SV proponent, completely backtracked on the commitment to follow the longest chain – a promise he made less than a week ago.

His tweet suggests an apparent lack of a Plan B – although by Sun Tzu’s “The art of war” – if this apparent weakness is misleading, it could become a great asset in an extended battle. Time will tell whether SV were really caught by surprise by ABC’s swift moves earlier this day.

A tweet by Ayre from earlier today suggests that the SV camp has conceded the chain split – an event they were vocal against.

If that’s the case, SV’s new coin will have an uphill battle on their hands – given that many major exchanges, lead by Kraken and Bittrex have already accepted Bitcoin ABC as the winner who gets to hold the BCH ticker. A press release by CoinGeek urging exchanges to postpone this decision was published less than 48 hours ago.

At the time of writing, the SV coin is largely underrepresented on exchanges – especially as exchanges like Kraken have expressed their intention to not even acknowledge the newly-created coin.

Despite this being an obvious disadvantage of SV, it might also be their saving grace, given that millions of SV tokens are currently in the hands of people on the other side of the fence. Bitmain founder Jihan Wu, whose company was in control of more than 1 million BCH prior to the fork, has expressed his desire to sell his SV tokens – which given the current low volumes on exchanges might spell its doom. However, no significant price movement was to be seen after his tweet.

In summary, despite apparent defeat, SV are not quick to wave their white flags. Whatever they have up their sleeves, if they insist on retaining the BCH ticker, the time to act is now.

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