The first block on the Bitcoin Cash blockchain has been mined, cementing the split in the bitcoin blockchain as official.
The block was created at around 2.14pm ET on Tuesday, following a series of challenges along the way, finally and formally bringing the alternative version of blockchain into existence.
The move has now created an alternative technical roadmap from the bitcoin standard, giving effect to the Miner Activated Hard Fork (MAHF). It comes as the August 1 deadline for resolving the bitcoin scaling debate passed, which also saw BIP 148 adopted, with the soft fork largely symbolic.
The first block was created by miners ViaBTC, as confirmed by the firm on social media and verified by block exploration data from BlockDozer. The discovery came within six hours of official attempts at blockchain separation, which occurred on block 478,558.
The Bitcoin Cash block contains details of nearly 7,000 transactions, and comes at a block size of over 1.9MB – notable as almost double the maximum block size on the original bitcoin blockchain.
The controversy over bitcoin scaling arose as a direct result of capped block sizes, which artificially limited the size of blocks to 1MB.
As network volumes increased, transaction times and costs rose exponentially, prompting the drive from within the community to devise a new model for the blockchain.
While it was originally hoped that consensus would be possible, the split in the blockchain arising from Bitcoin Cash now means there are two competing versions of bitcoin.
The Bitcoin Cash implementation factors in a number of new parameters, most notably the 8MB block size, which proponents say is more than sufficient to tackle the current scaling issues.
Notably, it doesn’t rely on SegWit, or Segregated Witness, which pases transaction information externally to the blockchain.
It remains to be seen whether Bitcoin Cash will gain widespread support, and whether the split in the blockchain will undermine bitcoin, or enhance the asset class.
For the time being, traders and analysts are projecting continued volatility in bitcoin markets, as this landmark week in blockchain history continues to play out.