There’s is much debate amongst the community regarding Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash. Which blockchain is better? Which one is superior? Seems to be the question at hand. A close look into community arguments rises what looks to be an ideological battle with memes and insults used as primary weapons. Comment threads often devolve into chaos with no useful information being presented at all and it leaves newcomers ignorant to the situation.
So what are the actually differences between Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash? Let’s take a definitive look at both blockchains to shed some light on this argument.
The Scaling Debate
The scaling debate is an issue at the heart of the Bitcoin/Bitcoin Cash controversy. The question of how to properly scale the network to handle ever increase demand is a challenging one, and the community is working hard to solve these issues. To give you some perspective, Visa claims their systems are capable of processing 65,000 transactions messages per second at capacity. Bitcoin on the other hand, currently, can handle a maximum of 10 transactions per-second, and Bitcoin Cash, 213tx/s. Transactions per-second is primarily determined by the blockchains block size. Because Bitcoin Cash has a larger block size of 32MB (compared to Bitcoins 1 – 4MB size), BCH is able to processes more transactions and at a lower fee, than BTC.
So does this mean Bitcoin Cash is superior to Bitcoin? Not necessarily, the Bitcoin network has another trick up its sleeve called the Lightning Network. The Lightning Network is a second layer solution to the scaling issues Bitcoin is facing. In a nutshell, the way it works is a payment channel is opened between sender and receiver. Think of it as a tab between sender and receiver. Through this tab, payments would be extremely fast, secure, and lower fees. Only when the payment channel closes will the balance of the tabs be recorded on the blockchain, and users subjugated to BTC’s fees. This is the goal of the Lightning Network, and I say goal because it is not yet completed and still in beta.
Visa on the other hand completely outclasses Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash. How are these two suppose to scale to these lengths? Bitcoin Cash will just keep increasing its block size, so over time, 32MB per block may become 64MB, 128MB, 1G, etc… Bitcoin’s solution to the problem is the Lightning Network which is still in development.
Why doesn’t Bitcoin want to increase its blocksize?
The bitcoin community does not want to increase block size for ideological reasons. The common belief is that anyone should be able to run a full validator node, and if the average joe is unable to do this, it hurts the decentralized nature of Bitcoin.
A BCH supporter would argue that while yes, increased block sizes means increased storage requirements to support full nodes, this is irrelevant because storages prices continue to decrease every year and we should have no problem keeping up with ever increasing block size demand.
Right now, there is a good argument to be made as to why Bitcoin Cash is better than Bitcoin. When you take into account transaction speed and scalability, it is clear that BCH has the upper hand. However, let me emphasize that because BCH currently has the upper hand DOES NOT mean it always will. Understand that these blockchains are still largely in development and a lot can happen in the upcoming years. It is very possible the Lightning Network will be of exceptional use and be the all solution to the problems Bitcoin is facing.
I’m hesitant to definitively select a blockchain as the best because what is considered the best right now may not always be the best in the future. This is really a race between the blockchains. BCH has the upper hand right now but that doesn’t mean BTC can’t bring it back.