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What is Bitcoin Cash? A step-by-step guide to BCH

Bitcoin Cash has rapidly become one of the most valuable cryptocurrencies in the world. Here’s why.

In an effort to improve the efficiency of transactions, Bitcoin Cash broke off from the original bitcoin network on 1 August 2017. Bitcoin Cash aims to take bitcoin in a new direction geared towards faster transaction speeds and lower fees.

Learn more Buy Bitcoin Cash

Disclaimer: This information should not be interpreted as an endorsement of cryptocurrency or any specific provider, service or offering. It is not a recommendation to trade. Cryptocurrencies are speculative, complex and involve significant risks – they are highly volatile and sensitive to secondary activity. Performance is unpredictable and past performance is no guarantee of future performance. Consider your own circumstances, and obtain your own advice, before relying on this information. You should also verify the nature of any product or service (including its legal status and relevant regulatory requirements) and consult the relevant Regulators' websites before making any decision. Finder, or the author, may have holdings in the cryptocurrencies discussed.

What is Bitcoin Cash?

IconSymbolInitial release dateAlgorithm typeMax. supply
BCH, BCC, Ƀ1 August 2017SHA-25621 million BCH

Built upon the bitcoin model, Bitcoin Cash is a digital currency that is:

  • Decentralised. The network is spread out across many different computers all over the world.
  • Peer-to-Peer. Person A can send Bitcoin Cash directly to Person B from anywhere in the world without needing an intermediary, like a bank.
  • Secure. Bitcoin Cash uses strong encryption to prevent hacking, fraud and cyber attacks.
  • Open. The history of all Bitcoin Cash transactions is logged on a publicly accessible blockchain that can be viewed and verified by anyone.

How is Bitcoin Cash different from bitcoin?

Bitcoin Cash was created as a result of diverging viewpoints within the bitcoin community about how to scale the network. As more people began to use bitcoin, the network struggled to keep up with the volume of transactions. As a result, many bitcoin users were waiting hours, sometimes days, before seeing their transactions go through.

There was a lot of debate around how to solve this problem and that led to a split between two groups with opposing viewpoints: those in favour of increasing the size of blocks in the blockchain versus those in favour of restructuring the way data was stored in the existing blocks.

The Hard Fork

To make transaction speeds faster, one group within the bitcoin community wanted to increase the size of blocks on the bitcoin blockchain. This group, consisting primarily of bitcoin miners, could not get enough support from the larger bitcoin community to form the consensus needed to move bitcoin in this direction. As a result, this group split off (or “hard-forked”) from the original bitcoin blockchain and formed Bitcoin Cash as a new currency.

Bitcoin Cash recognises the same blockchain as bitcoin up until the time of the fork, 1 August 2017. After the fork, Bitcoin Cash transactions started to be recorded on a new blockchain, specific to Bitcoin Cash, while bitcoin continued to maintain the original bitcoin blockchain.

What does Bitcoin Cash do differently?

The biggest difference between bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash has to do with the size of blocks on the blockchain. By increasing block size from bitcoin’s 1MB up to 8MB, Bitcoin Cash allows many more transactions to be processed in one block. The idea is to process larger transaction volumes faster and for lower fees.

Another significant difference between the two currencies is that the level of difficulty involved in mining Bitcoin Cash varies depending on how many miners are active on the network. Many bitcoin miners have migrated over to Bitcoin Cash for this reason, because it allows them to generate larger profits at a faster rate than mining bitcoin.

Where can I use Bitcoin Cash as payment?

Many cryptocurrency exchanges have taken steps to integrate Bitcoin Cash, and it’s possible that merchants will begin to follow suit as the currency continues to grow. For those looking to use cryptocurrency to buy goods and services, Bitcoin Cash is not currently accepted by most vendors, including many of those that do accept bitcoin.

How to get Bitcoin Cash

Name Product Deposit methods Fiat Currencies Available Cryptocurrencies
Cash, BPAY, POLi, Cryptocurrency
AUD
BTC, BCH, ETH, XRP, ADA, XEM, LTC, XLM, TRX, DASH, NEO, XMR, EOS, QTUM, BTG, LSK, ETC, XVG & over 60+ more
CoinSpot is an Australian-based marketplace that allows you to easily buy, sell or trade more than 100 cryptocurrencies.
Electronic Funds Transfer, SWIFT, Cryptocurrency
AUD, NZD, USD
BTC, BCH, ETH, LTC
Trade AUD and other fiat currencies against BTC, BCH or ETH at competitive rates.
Cryptocurrency
-
BTC, ETH, HT, LTC, BCH, XRP, DASH, IOST, EOS, TRX, ETC, OCN, ONT, ELF, ABT, CMT, ELA, ZEC, OMG & 75+ more
Huobi.pro is a digital currency exchange that allows its users to trade more than 190 cryptocurrency pairs.
Bank transfer, POLi, Cash deposit* *Westpac Bank branches only
AUD, GBP, USD
BTC, BCH, ETH, LTC, XRP, NEO, VEO & 400+ more
HiveEx.com is a global over-the-counter (OTC) cryptocurrency brokerage specialising in high-volume trades of $10,000+.
Hive Empire Trading Pty Ltd is a related party of Hive Empire, which owns finder.com.au.
Credit card, Debit card, SWIFT, SEPA, Cryptocurrency
USD, EUR, RUB, GBP
BTC, DASH, ETH, XRP, ZEC, XLM
Use your USD, EUR or RUB to buy and sell cryptocurrency at competitive exchange rates and with high maximums for verified accounts.
Cash, Electronic Funds Transfer, POLi
AUD
BTC, BCH, ETH, ETC, LTC, DASH, XMR, XRP, ANT, REP, BNT, BAT, BTS, BLK, CVC, CLAM, DCR, DGB, DGD, DOGE & 35+ more
Buy a variety of cryptocurrencies through an Australian exchange platform through POLi, Cash or Electronic Funds Transfer.
Cryptocurrency, Wire Transfer
New account holders must now deposit fiat/crypto equivalent to US$10,000 to trade.
USD, EUR
BTC, BCH, BTG, TRX, GNT, AVT, DASH, DATA, EDO, EOS, ETC, ETH, ETP, LTC, MIOTA, NEO, OMG, QTUM, SAN, USDT, XMR, XRP, ZEC, BAT, ZRX, FUN, MANA, SPANK, TNB, RLC, RCN, REP, ELF, AID, SNGLS, SNT, QASH, YOYO, MITH
Spot trade all of the major cryptos on this full-featured exchange and margin trading platform.
Cryptocurrency
-
BTC, BCH, KCS, DRGN, DBC, XRB, ETH, PRL, LTC, SNOV, DENT, RPX, QLC, NEO, UTK, BNTY, ACT, POE, UKG, LA, LEND, VET & 50+ more
Browse a variety of coin offerings in one of the largest multi-cryptocurrency exchanges and pay in cryptocurrency.
Credit card, Debit card
AUD, USD, EUR, GBP, CAD, CNY & 50+ more
BTC, BCH, ETH, LTC
Buy and sell bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin and Bitcoin Cash on one of the world's most renowned cryptocurrency exchanges.
Cryptocurrency, Bank transfer
JPY, USD, SGD, AUD, EUR, CNY, PHP, HKD, INR
BTC, ETH, QASH, XRP, BCH, NEO, UBTC, RKT, QTUM, BCH, DASH
A global exchange which offers users both cryptocurrency and fiat currency deposit options.
Cash, Credit card, Debit card
USD, EUR
BTC, ETH, ETC, BCH, LTC, ADA, QTUM
Use USD/EUR to buy bitcoin and Ether with credit card or cash on the Coinmama cryptocurrency exchange.
Credit card, Debit card, Neosurf, Cashlib, Trustpay, ePay
USD, EUR, GBP, JPY, CNY, KRW, AUD, CAD, DKK, NOK, SEK, TRY, HKD, SGD
BTC, ETH, XRP, DASH, LTC, BCH, ETC, OMG, ZRX, CVC, BNT
Buy cryptocurrency with cash or credit card and get express delivery in as little as 10 minutes.
Cryptocurrency
-
BTC, BCH, DRG, UKG, ENJ, TRX, LDC, MGO, AMLT, EZT, LALA, IPSX, FLIXX, STU, 1WO, TPAY, ETH, WIN, LTC, SPHTX, RKT, UBTC, ETN, ECH, QASH, NEO, HAV, XRP, ETC, STAC, FLUZ, VZT, XEM, XLM, VET, BMC, ONG, FDX, XMR, DENT, MCO, IND, GAT, ZEC, CAN, STX, QTUM, OAX, IXT, STORJ, MTN, REP, FCT, DASH
Owned by the team behind QUOINEX, QRYPTOS is a global crypto-to-crypto platform which supports over 50 cryptocurrencies and offers negative trading maker fees to generate liquidity.
Credit card, Debit card, Cryptocurrency, Perfect Money, SEPA, Wire Transfer, Payza, CryptoCapital, Money Polo, Payeer, Giropay, Yandex Money & more
USD, EUR, RUB, PLN, UAH
BTC, BCH, ETH, ETC, XRP, KICK, DASH, WAVES, ZEC, XMR, LTC, DOGE, USDT
A UK-based cryptocurrency platform that provides buyers with a wide variety of payment options.
Cryptocurrency, Payeer, Perfect Money, Qiwi
USD, EUR, RUB
BTC, BCH, ETH, LSK, LTC, XMR, XEM, DASH, BCC, DBIX, CLOAK, EMC, NEO, TIME, SHIFT, STRAT, DOGE, DTR, DGB, VOX, ESC, MONA & 140+ more
Trade at an exchange that has an extensive offering over 160 coins and numerous fiat and altcoin currency pairs.
Credit card, Debit card
USD, EUR
BTC, BCH, ETH, XMR, ZEC, DASH, XRP, ETC, LTC, DOGE, XLM,1ST, ADX, AMP, ANT, BAT, BCN, BNT, BTG, CFI, CVC & 70+ more
Access competitive crypto-to-crypto exchange rates for more than 35 cryptocurrencies on this global exchange.
Cryptocurrency, SEPA, SOFORT, MoneyPolo, Bank Wire* Domestic wire for CZK and PLN, SEPA only for EUR
EUR, PLN, CZK
BTC, BCH, LTC
Trade fiat currencies and cryptocurrency at this European-based exchange with options to pay through domestic bank wire, SEPA and SOFORT.
OKPay, PerfectMoney, Yandex Money, Payeer, QIWI, Cryptocurrency
USD, EUR, RUB
BTC, XRB, ETH, DCN, BCH, NIO, TRX, DASH, COB, DOGE, PRIX, DSR, XCPO, LTC, VERI, LOC, NUA, PKT, PPT, ICO & 80+ more
Supporting over 100 coins, you can exchange a variety of cryptocurrency pairs on this peer-to-peer platform.
Cryptocurrency, Bank transfer
AUD
BTC, BCH, ETH, HSR, EET, DASH, FUEL, UBTC
An Australian cryptocurrency exchange, ACX enables you to buy bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies with AUD bank deposits.
Cryptocurrency
-
BTC, BCH, ETH, LTC, DOGE, NEO, XMR, POWR, DASH, PIVX, XEM, OMG, GNT & 500+ more
Buy and sell hundreds of cryptocurrencies with minimal verification on this all-in-one, New Zealand-based exchange.
Electronic Funds Transfer, SEPA, Wire Transfer *payment methods vary per country
USD, EUR, GBP, JPY, CAD
BTC, BCH, ETH, ETC, XMR, DASH, LTC, XRP, XLM, REP, ICN, MLN, ZEC, USDT, GNO, EOS
Exchange multiple cryptocurrencies through a range of payment methods, including Electronic Funds Transfer, SEPA or Wire Transfer.
ACH Bank Transfer, Wire Transfer, SEPA * payment methods vary depending on fiat currency
USD, EUR, GBP
BTC, BCH, ETH, LTC
Buy and sell cryptocurrency at this US-based exchange which offers fiat currency payment options, including wire transfer, ACH bank transfer and SEPA.
Cryptocurrency
-
BTC, ETH, XRP, DOGE, XLM, ETC, STRAT, LTC, SC, DGB, BCH, LSK, XMR & 50 more
Trade various coins through a global crypto to crypto exchange based in the US.
Debit card, Credit card, Cryptocurrency, SEPA, Wire transfer, AstroPay
USD, EUR
BTC, BCH, LTC, ETH, XRP
A global cryptocurrency exchange that facilitates crypto to fiat transactions, where you can use EUR or USD to buy bitcoin and popular altcoins.
Bank transfer, BPAY, POLi
AUD
BTC, BCH, ETH, ETC, LTC, XRP
Browse the various coin offerings of this Australian based exchange, where coins can be purchased through AUD, LTC and BTC currencies.
Cryptocurrency
-
BTC, BCH, BTG, ETH, ETC, FUN, 1ST, ANT, BAT, BNT, BLK, CVC, CLAM, DASH, DCR, DGB, DNT, DOGE, EDG, EOS, FCT, GAME & 25+ more
A global exchange where no account is needed to begin trading cryptocurrency to cryptocurrency.

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There are a few ways to get your hands on some BCH.

  • You might already have some. If you owned bitcoin before the 1 August fork, you might already have Bitcoin Cash. Any bitcoin holdings you had prior to the split, unless they were kept on an exchange, can also be claimed as Bitcoin Cash. The same private keys associated with your bitcoin wallet can be used to access equal holdings in Bitcoin Cash.
  • Buy from an exchange. Initially, many of the most prominent exchanges in the US were hesitant to support Bitcoin Cash. However, due to an increase in value and consumer demand more and more exchanges are beginning to open their doors to this new currency.
  • Mine it. Bitcoin Cash has received a lot of support from miners, many of whom have switched over from mining bitcoin. The opportunity to earn generous amounts of BCH through mining is an incentive for more people to participate in the network.

What should I consider before buying Bitcoin Cash?

Cryptocurrencies are notoriously volatile, and it’s impossible to say for certain whether the value of Bitcoin Cash will go up or down. Since its initial release, BCH has grown to become one of the most valuable cryptocurrencies in the world, but it has also seen major price fluctuation from one day to the next.

From a trader perspective, the stability of Bitcoin Cash needs to be reviewed. Many sceptics believe that it will not be able to replace bitcoin as the leader in this space, and therefore it may not survive in the long term. On the other hand, supporters of BCH believe it offers an improvement over bitcoin and will therefore gain value in the long term and ultimately overtake its predecessor.

What to watch out for

Bitcoin Cash is still very new, and it has seen major price variations in its early days. There’s ongoing debate about the real value of Bitcoin Cash, how much support it has and whether its solution to bitcoin’s scaling problem is ultimately a success.

What’s next for Bitcoin Cash?

The future of Bitcoin Cash remains unclear. Its value has grown substantially despite its comparatively short existence, but Bitcoin Cash faces several challenges and uncertainties moving forward. Bitcoin Cash is hailed by its supporters as a “new and improved” system that will replace the original bitcoin.

At the same time, many prominent voices in the cryptocurrency space have suggested that Bitcoin Cash does not have the same level of support driving bitcoin. As bitcoin moves to implement its own solutions to the scaling issue, we will likely get a much clearer picture of how these two competing currencies will develop into the future.

Image sources: Shutterstock

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