Bitcoin gold’s development team announced today that it would release its client on Sunday. At 7:00 PM UTC on November 12th, it will be made available.
As a result, wallets may finally be developed to support the new currency, and miners will be able to earn it by verifying transactions on its blockchain. BTG will also be made available on several exchanges and can be traded post-airdrop. The full list of exchanges that support bitcoin gold may be found here.
Bitcoin gold was officially born when block 491,407 was mined on bitcoin’s blockchain. Initially, the ensuing air drop was planned for November 1st, but was postponed as the team was unable to deliver a reliable code by the deadline. Since then, much has hung in the balance while the team was hard at work. Segwit2x enraptured Bitcoin in unprecedented excitement pushing it to new highs, and over $300m in Ether is believed to be lost thanks to the unwitting mistake of a novice developer. BTG is going live at last, however, and we will soon find out if the anticipation was worth it.
Underlying the hard fork is the idea that the mining component of Bitcoin has become overly centralized. Large pools now control majority shares in the networks hashing power, concentrating disproportionate authority in the hands of too few. Bitcoin gold’s main objective is to solve this problem. It aims to nerf ASIC mining while bringing GPU mining mainstream. It’s new algorithm, Equihash, is designed to do this. It is ASIC resistant, meaning that it cannot be mined with specialized, expensive equipment that targets its specific algorithm. As a result, anyone who participates in the ecosystem will have equal say in Bitcoin’s developmental direction.
Replay Protection WILL Be Available!
Replay protection is the most important feature to ensure that bitcoin and bitcoin gold can safely coexist. To understand this feature, consider its meaning as defined by the bitcoin gold development team itself:
What is a transaction replay?
In the context of a Bitcoin fork, a replay happens when a transaction is valid on both sides of the fork. So a transaction can be broadcast on both chains after the fork and be a valid transaction and confirm on both. This means that if you intend on sending coins on one fork, you could accidentally end up sending your coins on the other fork as well since someone else could take your transaction and replay.
What is a replay protection?
Replay protection is a safety feature that makes sure that transactions on one chain are invalid on the other chain, thus preventing transaction replay and the possible resulting loss of funds. Replay protection can be achieved in multiple ways; anything from having a blacklisted address or output type (e.g. if an output to address X is in the transaction, consider it invalid) to changing the signature scheme to changing the transaction format entirely.
This feature would not have been available if the air drop went live on Nov 1st as scheduled. It was simply not ready, and neither was the code itself. The community unanimously demanded it however, and the team delivered. In order to ensure safe, secure transactions, BTG will incorporate a solution called SIGHASH_FORK_ID protection. This two-way replay protection contains a new algorithm which forcefully invalidates replayed transactions by defining each transaction as a new hash paradigm.
In order to ensure the safety of the Bitcoin ecosystem, Bitcoin Gold has implemented full replay protection, an essential feature that protects users’ coins from being spent unintentionally.
What has happened between Nov 1 and now?
Nov 1st passed uneventfully as Bitcoin Gold was lacking several things. At the time it did not have any of the following:
- Consensus code
- Replay Protection
- Code for testing, troubleshooting, wallets, exchanges
- Publicly known code developers
All of these issues have since been remedied. Only one questionable fact remains: the private premine of 100,000 BTG, or 8,000 full blocks. It was done to fund continued improvement for BTG, but it does post a risk. According to Bittrex in a recent statement:
Bitcoin Gold codebase also contains a private premine of 8,000 blocks (100,000 BTG). Please be aware that if a market does open, there is a possibility of the developers selling their premined BTG on the open market.
In the event that fear is realized, bitcoin gold would not be greeted with warm embrace. It would likely sell off early, which could represent an attractive buying opportunity.
I wonder what Satoshi Nakamoto would have to say about bitcoin gold. WOuld he choose BTG over BTC? Let us know what you think!
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