Bitcoin Gold: The Bitcoin Fork To Make BTC Decentralized Again
Cryptocurrency forks are nothing new and it seems like we have seen our fair share these days. Bitcoin was also expected to see multiple forks in 2018 and one of the most controversial forks came later in October which was the Bitcoin Gold (BTG) Fork.
The Bitcoin Gold (BTG) fork from the original Bitcoin blockchain happened on October 24th, 2017 at a block height 491407 and there are multiple reasons why this happened including the most important one which was to bring improvements to the code. In the case of this cryptocurrency, the main purpose was also to make ‘’Bitcoin decentralized again.’’ This seems a little redundant at first sight since Bitcoin is already decentralized and it doesn’t have any connections to any government, central banks or any other centralized authority. While it is true that the developers were not concerned with this question of the central issue of the benchmark cryptocurrency, they were worried about the mining process and the rise of large ASIC mining operations who are increasing the hash power of the Bitcoin network.
The developers of the cryptocurrency of the fork also wanted to move to the Equihash consensus algorithm and make the cryptocurrency ASIC resistant and they also put the mining hash power back in the hands of the individuals. The mining can be very profitable but it is also very resource-intensive which led the miners to choose pools for their resources and move to large centralized mining operations with powerful mining rigs which brought huge computing resources in the process. This means that the solo miners who want to mine on their own were forced to spend huge amounts of money to build their mining rigs. Those who didn’t choose to do so would be moved into the mining process since their computers didn’t have the computational power to solve the block.
Bitcoin Gold (BTG) took to its own hands to change the mining algorithm and to prohibit the use of specialized ASIC chips in mining. This also led to the shift from large mining operations and now allows the miners to continue mining with their computers GPU.
Protection, Transparency And Distribution
Aside from getting more decentralized from Bitcoin, the developers of Bitcoin Gold (BTG) decided to address the issues of transparency, distribution, and protection which Bitcoin was facing. According to their website, we can read that:
‘’Hard forking bitcoin’s blockchain fairly and efficiently distributes a new digital asset immediately to people all over the world who have interest in crypto coins.’’
One of the primary concerns for every crypto users is security. There has always been a threat from hackers and malicious actors who are lurking in the background. The need to change this made the Bitcoin Gold creditors add additional security measures to the cryptocurrency right from the day of the hard fork. One of these measures was to create unique wallet addresses for Bitcoin Gold and the other one was to replay protection for the coin to prevent double-spending.
The transparency was added by making Bitcoin Gold open-source. The fact that the source code for the project is now available for all developers and volunteers around the world is a strong draw for more Bitcoin Gold users and investors. The vision of the digital asset of democratizing Bitcoin mining seems to have attracted many people in the mainstream Bitcoin world although the cryptocurrency still faces a ton of skepticism in the broader community.
The critics have objected to the unusual way that Bitcoin Gold launched the currency and after forking from the original BTC blockchain, the digital assets’ team operated the new network privately allowing them to mine a huge deal of Bitcoins without competition from the rest of the users.
Exchanging Bitcoin Gold
For all of the cryptocurrencies, one very important factor that helps determine both the short-term and long-term success is the availability of crypto exchanges. The users must be able to access the cryptocurrency on exchanges to make transactions. According to the website of the digital asset, as of March 2018, the cryptocurrency was trading live on multiple exchanges including, HitBTC, BitHumb, Bitfinex, Binance, Bittrex, UnoCoin, Indacoin, Evercoin, Bitsane, QuadrigaCX, Okex, Cex.io and Shapeshift and many more.
There are also additional exchanges that are slated to offer this asset shortly as well. Bitcoin Gold is also available on multiple wallet services including Ledger, Trezor, Exodus, Bitpie, Guarda, BTGWalle, and Kasse. According to their website, the cryptocurrency has been listed on 466 markets and 26 exchanges for 2018.
The developers of Bitcoin gold used the post-mine method after the launch. This was the retroactive mining of about 100,000 coins after the fork already happened. The way this happened was through the rapid mining of about 8,000 blocks and the results of lead for the cryptocurrency to be used and to grown and maintain the broader bitcoin gold network. About 5 percent of the coins were set aside for each of the primary team members as a bonus. At the time of the launch, all of the owners received Bitcoin gold coins at the rate of one Bitcoin gold token per one Bitcoin token.
Coinbase as one of the largest cryptocurrency exchanges in the world at that time was very skeptical of the Bitcoin Gold coin when it was launched. The representatives from the exchange noted that they cannot support Bitcoin gold because they have not made the code available to the public yet. This was considered a major security risk by the company.
As of March 2018, Bitcoin gold has about 250 reachable nodes and the highest concentration of nodes is now in Germany and next is the United States. Later the same year, Bitcoin Gold launched the insight explorer saying it is a fully functional bitcoin gold insight instance and web applications service with the Insight UI and Insight API.
Like most of the cryptocurrencies, Bitcoin Gold has had its fair share of controversies and since only days after the launch, the miners accused one of the developers have added a 0.5% mining fee that was hidden from the mining community.