Bitcoin Cash (BCH) Hard Fork Glitch Triggered By ABC Software Bug

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Bitcoin Cash (BCH) appears to have been split after a software bug triggered a system-wide upgrade commonly referred to as hard fork.

Forkmonitor, a tracking tool from BitMEX Research, shows that the bitcoin cash network split occurred after attempting a software upgrade at block number 582,679.

According to one Reddit user, the BC H developer group ABC’s version of the software allegedly carried a code bug that affected the network’s mempool, and not the scheduled upgrade.

Miners on the bitcoin cash blockchain validate transactions that are then added to new blocks, with all pending transactions sent to the mempool for miners to verify.

Reddit user FerriestaPatronum commented that the glitch could have been a result of a “small bug in the mempool,” and that the operation count might have been “validated with the old rules.”

The result of the bug said to have been a series of empty transaction blocks, but that anomaly has since been fixed after bitcoin cash developers released a new code. Per CoinText CTO Vin Armani, the mempool is now clear, there are no empty blocks and that transaction validation is “back to normal.”

While the developers have fixed the software, it remains unclear exactly how many Bitcoin ABC nodes have moved to upgrade to the new patched software.

Cryptocurrency exchange Poloniex tweeted that as a precaution following the bug, the platform was to disable all withdrawals and deposits for the moment.

Is it a centralization problem?

Most miners on the bitcoin cash network use the software implementations of Bitcoin ABC rather than that of Bitcoin Unlimited (BU), according to blockchain startup Navier.

The firm’s R&D team noted that as a result of this, the rate of creating and submitting transactions to the mempool was too high.

Navier VP David Steinberg said that the speed at which this was happening overwhelmed the rate of having transactions “written to a block.” Thus, most of the blocks ended up empty.

But according to Steinberg, the availability and use of diverse software implementations can prevent such code hiccups from affecting the blockchain network.

Speaking to Coindesk, Steinberg said that relying on one node type was basically “a form of centralization” where miners trust that the selected codebase will work as expected.

He also emphasized that the use of software protocol implementations that are what he called “singularly popular,” could pose a serious threat to a blockchain network during hard forks.

In the case of bitcoin cash, Steinberg reiterated that it was even more dangerous. This is because the bug’s introduction happened at the time the chain was set to undergo a major update. All nodes could have been at risk as they had to upgrade first before participating in the hard fork.

The issue would not be that exacerbated during normal updates, he said, as such are incremental in nature and that not all nodes will update as quickly. In such a scenario, a problem involving a software bug like the one that affected BCH would likely affect a limited number of miners.

Steinberg acknowledged that even programmers are bound to mistakes, but it is dangerous for decentralized systems to rely on a single codebase, which is akin to having a centralized system.

Bitcoin Cash (BCH), which is a fork of Bitcoin (BTC), currently trades at $395 against the U.S. dollar. It is the fourth largest cryptocurrency with a market capitalization of over $7 billion.


Disclaimer: This is not investment advice. Cryptocurrencies are highly volatile assets and are very risky investments. Do your research and consult an investment professional before investing. Never invest more than you can afford to lose. Never borrow money to invest in cryptocurrencies.

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