The National Institute of Standards and Technology has released a paper which claims that Bitcoin Cash is the original Bitcoin chain. The provocative statement was published in a larger document about blockchain technology entitled “NISTIR 8202 – Blockchain Technology Overview”. It was penned by NIST’s Dylan Yaga and Peter Mell with assistance from G2’s Nik Roby and Scarfone’s Karen Scarfone.
The paper itself attempts to provide solid definitions of concepts surrounding blockchain technology. These include aspects of the innovative data storage technique such as hardforks. Whilst the 57 page document is largely straightforward and non-controversial, the same cannot be said for the section on Bitcoin Cash.
NISTIR 8202 reads:
“In July 2017, approximately 80 to 90 percent of the Bitcoin computing power voted to incorporate Segregated Witness (SegWit, where transactions are split into two segments: transactional data, and signature data), which made it possible to reduce the amount of data being verified in each block. Signature data can account for up to 65 percent of a transaction block, so a change in how signatures are implemented could be useful. When SegWit was activated, it caused a hard fork, and all the mining nodes and users who did not want to change started calling the original Bitcoin blockchain Bitcoin Cash (BCC). Technically, Bitcoin is a fork and Bitcoin Cash is the original blockchain. When the hard fork occurred, people had access to the same amount of coins on Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash.”
The NIST paper has been prepared as an introduction to blockchain technology. It states that it will go “beyond the hype” to deliver basic yet important information to those not familiar with the space. The NIST have also released a blurb about the document. It reads:
“This publication is intended to provide a high-level technical overview of blockchain technology. It discusses its application for electronic currency as well as broader uses. The document looks at different categories and approaches for different blockchain platforms.”
The NIST paper has also been presented publicly for comments. Naturally, with such a heated debate within the cryptocurrency community both before and after the hardfork which created Bitcoin Cash last August, it’s likely that Bitcoin maximalists and all those hostile to BCH will present an onslaught of responses to refute the statement’s made by NIST. The deadline to submit feedback for those outraged, bemused, or confused is February 23, 2018.
For those unaware, Bitcoin Cash was created as a potential solution for the ongoing scaling debate within the Bitcoin community. For many, Bitcoin was to serve as a means of exchange and given its surge in popularity, it was unable to perform this role efficiently. As fees and transaction times increased, a proposed change to the original code sought to increase the capacity of each block within the blockchain.
However, the majority of the community disagreed with such a response to the issue of providing more transactions per second. Since there was a divide within the miners who validate transactions on the network, two competing cryptocurrencies emerged from the fallout of last August. These have become known as Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash. Even despite competing parties being free to go their own way and take the technology where they feel it should, there is still bitter resentment between the two.