Bitcoin Gold , Fork No. 2
The Bitcoin Cash hardfork was about increasing block size as a solution to congestion and high transaction fees on the Bitcoin network. The fork went ahead despite disagreements within the community and amidst fears that it would negatively impact Bitcoin. It, however, resulted in two versions of Bitcoin with value. One could say money was created out of thin air. This opened the floodgates for other forks of Bitcoin. Bitcoin Gold was the first to follow in the steps of Bitcoin Cash.
The Bitcoin Gold hardfork was not a contentious one. The goal was to, as the creators put it, “make Bitcoin decentralized again”. They were going to go about this by changing the mining algorithm to Equihash. This was going to make it easier for anybody to get involved with mining using GPUs. ASIC miners would not have any advantage in terms of speed and profitability.
Some welcomed the fork mainly because they could not complain about free coins or what became known as crypto dividends. The idea was that the expectation of future forks would cause holders of Bitcoin to keep holding. Basically, this was good for Bitcoin’s price in general. There was also the view that more forks would dilute the relevance of Bitcoin Cash. The fact that Bitcoin Gold was not in competition to become the real Bitcoin also helped.
Not all the views on Bitcoin Gold before the fork were positive. Many Reddit posts called the fork an outright scam. Many had issues with the pre-mine done by the Bitcoin Gold team in order to fund the project. The change of the mining algorithm was also not enough to convince some members of the cryptoshpere on the need for the Bitcoin gold fork. They felt there was a long list of ASIC resistant cryptocurrencies to choose from, which made this hardfork unnecessary. Vertcoin and Monero were examples of such ASIC resistant cryptocurrencies.
On 25th October 2017, the fork happened in spite of all these issues. The mainnet launch followed on 12th November 2017.
Trezor and Ledger are leaders when it comes to hardware wallets for cryptocurrencies. Either of these two hardware wallet makers adding support for any cryptocurrency helps to legitimize the said cryptocurrency. With Trezor having support for fewer coins, being added to its list of supported coins surely meant a lot. Bitcoin Gold eventually got Trezor’s support. This was after the wallet’s team waited to see if the mainnet was launched and safe.
Along the way, some malicious wallets that claimed to support the fork scammed a number of people out of their Bitcoins. These wallets had to be removed from the list of wallets on the official Bitcoin Gold website. The Bitcoin Gold team was heavily criticized for this as well.
All else went smoothly after the fork occurred. The push to get listed on more exchanges began and was fairly successful. Bitcoin Gold is now listed on over 20 exchanges including Binance, Bithumb, Bitfinex, Bittrex, and HitBTC
In the end, Bitcoin Gold had a good start in terms of price. CoinMarketCap.com shows it opened at around $500 and declined over the months to $59.09 by 23rd March 2018. At the time of writing, it was ranked 23rd by market cap, but started in the top ten.
Features and Developments
In terms of features, Bitcoin Gold did not change much apart from the Bitcoin mining algorithm. SegWit support was not removed and the team plans to have Lightning on Bitcoin Gold in the future. There has also been considerable effort by the Bitcoin Gold team to foster the growth of their community and also increase adoption. Bitcoin Gold has been listed on several exchanges and there are a number of supporting wallets.
The BTGPay program is one such effort aimed at increasing adoption. BTGPay helps merchants, who wish to accept Bitcoin Gold, integrate it into their payment systems. On the other end, holders get more places they can spend their coins.
Bitcoin Gold was also integrated into BitGo’s multi-currency platform early on. Other cryptocurrencies on this list are Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum, and Litecoin. BitGo mainly serves institutions with regards to the handling of cryptocurrency transactions in a regulation-compliant manner. Bitcoin Gold being added to this platform further extends its usability and reach as a cryptocurrency.
We will continue to follow Bitcoin Gold and see how it stays on from here. If what has been achieved in less than six months is anything to go by, we are likely to have a cryptocurrency with continuous improvements. My guess is that with a continuous growth in its community and ecosystem, the digital currency would continue to be used and have value.