It could take several hours to trade Bitcoin Cash.
For the first time in its eight years of existence, Bitcoin's digital ledger has split and created a new cryptocurrency called Bitcoin Cash. Since Bitcoin Cash will be built off the same blockchain as the original Bitcoin, Bitcoin owners will all receive one Bitcoin Cash for every Bitcoin they own.
The blockchain split on Tuesday morning, but it could take days before the Bitcoin Cash blockchain can process transactions. Just after 9:30 a.m., Jameson Lopp, an engineer at the blockchain security website BitGo, posted on Twitter that the mining of the first new block will likely take "several hours" to complete.
Jeff Garzik, co-founder of blockchain company Bloq Inc. who is backing a rival scaling proposal, tweeted that Bitcoin Cash has about 1% of the computing power as the main Bitcoin network. He said that means it could take 24 hours for the first block of the new chain to be mined.
Independent developers are creating Bitcoin Cash to increase the rate at which the transfers using the digital currency can be processed. Bitcoin processes up to seven transactions per second, while Bitcoin Cash, whose block size is eight times larger than Bitcoin's, is expected to process about 30 per second, Sean Walsh, partner at Redwood City Ventures, told TheStreet.
A split in a cryptocurrency is not unprecedented. On the second largest blockchain, ethereum, a similar schism occurred last year when members of that network created a new cryptocurrency in opposition to design decisions.
Before the Bitcoin split could happen, miners had to process six common blocks between Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash after 8:20 a.m. That has happened, and now Bitcoin Cash miners are working on adding a block to start the leg of the new currency's blockchain.
The futures market for Bitcoin Cash had the new currency's value at $369.67 per coin late Tuesday morning, up 32%. It, however, was down from $424.09 earlier Tuesday morning.
Bitcoin's value was falling on Tuesday morning, down 5% to $2,735.71, according to CoinDesk. The day before, Bitcoin had risen to $2,925.03, its highest since June 11 in anticipation for the fork.
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