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Bitcoin vs Bitcoin Cash

Both coins are very similar, but it's the differences that count.

Bitcoin Cash is the result of a bitcoin fork. It is extremely similar in many ways to bitcoin, but Bitcoin Cash has a few important technical differences that make a big impact.

One key difference, which has many significant follow-on effects, is the difference in block size. Bitcoin has a 1MB block size, while Bitcoin Cash has an 8MB block size.

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.

What does block size mean?

Blockchain transactions, such as those done with bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash, are conducted on the blockchain.

You can think of each block as a vehicle that carries transactions to their destination. A transaction is concluded once a block arrives and parks itself in the chain.

If each transaction is a passenger, then bitcoin’s 1MB block size is more like a car, while BCH’s 8MB block size is more like a bus.

Larger blocks can hold more transactions, which helps process them faster.

The pros and cons of a larger block size

A larger block size is good news in that it helps process transactions a lot faster, but it also means a full node takes up a lot more data storage space.

A full node is required to mine on the blockchain. It includes a copy of the entire transaction history for the whole blockchain. So as you can imagine, a larger block size comes with higher hardware and data storage costs.

One of the main arguments against a larger block size is that it leads to increased centralization of a coin, and that the higher hardware costs mean only large mining groups will be able to profitably work on the blockchain.

What a larger block size looks like

It can helps to visualise what a larger block size looks like. Here are two snapshots of a few hours in the mempools of bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash. The mempool is where pending transactions are stored while they wait for a miner to hook them up to a block and make the transaction happen.

Specifically, these are what the two mempools were doing between about 8am to midday, Sydney time, on 21 December 2017.

The bitcoin mempool

btc mempool snip 8am-12pm


The Bitcoin Cash mempool

bch mempool 8am-12pm snip

Source: Johoe’s Mempool Size Statistics


What am I looking at?

Each dip and spike on the top of the mempool shows a block being processed. In bitcoin, the 1MB block size just takes small bites out of the waiting transaction, starting with the ones with the highest fees. But the 8MB block size of Bitcoin Cash takes big chunks out of the mempool.

This is particularly important when there are “larger” transactions going through.

In this case, larger refers to the actual size of each transaction in bytes rather than the value of it. Certain additions like extra encryption will increase the size of transactions, while others like SegWit will decrease the size of each transaction.


Bitcoin vs Bitcoin Cash

Other differences are in the mining algorithm. At its inception, Bitcoin Cash had an easier mining algorithm.

What's mining difficulty?

Mining difficulty refers to how quickly a block can be discovered and attached to the blockchain. To solve a block, the miner needs to spend processing power on solving a complex maths problem.

By making the problem easier, blocks can be mined faster. By making it harder, blocks are mined slower.

On the bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash blockchains, fast and easy blocks are good for transaction times, but not necessarily good for the currency in the long run.

This is because miners are rewarded with newly minted coins for solving these problems and finding new blocks. If it’s too easy, the currency faces too-high inflation rates and gets devalued.

Both BTC and BCH will get considerably more difficult to mine as they get closer to their 21 million coin limit.

For more on bitcoin mining, read our guide.

An easier mining algorithm was deemed to be necessary for BCH to keep a competitive edge against the more-valuable bitcoin and to attract the miners needed to run the network.

Soon this had the unintended side-effect of miners dipping in and out of BCH based on whether it was profitable at the time, leading to extremely unpredictable block times. Sometimes blocks would be hours apart (for very slow transactions), and sometimes they would come along within a few seconds of each other (for very fast transactions, but rapid inflation).

In response, BCH introduced a dynamic mining algorithm which would get easier or more difficult as needed. This helped introduce some more consistency to the BCH blockchain and keep more miners working on it.

Which is best?

Each is good at a different thing.

What bitcoin’s good at

The high fees and slow transaction times of the original bitcoin are a deliberate, but somewhat unfortunate, design choice.

It’s intended to keep the coin rare, challenging and valuable. The bitcoin community and developers are banking on bitcoin being a “store of value” for cryptocurrency as a whole, just like gold underpins the US dollar and other fiat currencies. No one actually uses gold as a currency, but it still offers liquidity and value.

The idea is that bitcoin could be digital gold.

Read our simple guide to bitcoin to find out more.

What Bitcoin Cash is good at

Bitcoin Cash was deliberately split away from bitcoin by a team who thought high fees and slow transactions would eventually destroy bitcoin. It was deliberately designed to essentially be bitcoin, except easy to send, receive and transact with.

Hence the “cash” part of its name. It was designed to be the spending money next to bitcoin’s gold.

Get to know Bitcoin Cash better with this easy-to-understand overview.


Where can I buy bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash?

Name Product Deposit methods Fiat Currencies Cryptocurrencies
Binance Cryptocurrency Exchange
Bank transfer (ACH)
USD, AUD, GBP, EUR, RUB, TRY, NGN, UAH, PHP, CZK & 20+ more

315
cryptocurrencies

Promo: New users earn up to USD 100 in bonus rewards on qualified deposits and trades. Valid till 31 December 2021. T&Cs apply.
Finder Exclusive: Get 10% discount on your fees when signing up through Finder.
Trade an extensive range of reputable coins on this world-renowned exchange, popular for its high liquidity and multi-language support.

US residents: As of September 2019, US-based users can only trade USD on the American dollar onramp of Binance, Binance.US.
UK residents: In addition to normal crypto trading services, Binance offers margin lending. As this is a regulated activity which they are not authorised to offer in the UK, we advise you not to use this service. If you're interested in margin trading, see authorised providers.
Crypto.com App
Credit card, Cryptocurrency, PayPal, TransferWise, SEPA
USD, AUD, CAD, CHF, EUR, GBP, NZD, SGD, JPY, ZAR & 9+ more

153
cryptocurrencies

Buy 100+ cryptocurrencies, earn up to 14.5% p.a. on holdings, pay with your crypto for cashback at stores, get loans and more with this complete crypto-finance platform.
KuCoin Cryptocurrency Exchange
Cryptocurrency, PayPal, Wire transfer, Credit or Debit Card, SEPA
USD, EUR, GBP, RUB, CNY, AUD, KRW, JPY, TRY, VND & 40+ more

434
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Finder exclusive: Sign up and use code 1xf56 for one month of VIP 1 benefits. Deposit/transfer more than 0.1 BTC to KuCoin within 7 days of registration for 1 month of VIP 2 benefits. T&Cs apply.
Browse a variety of coin offerings in one of the largest multi-cryptocurrency exchanges and pay in cryptocurrency.
Gemini Cryptocurrency Exchange
Bank transfer (ACH)
USD, AUD, CAD, EUR, GBP, SGD, HKD

46
cryptocurrencies

Trade bitcoin, Ethereum and more at a US-based exchange where payments can be made in USD.
FTX Cryptocurrency Exchange
Credit card, Wire transfer, Silvergate Exchange Network (SEN), Signature SIGNET
USD,EUR,GBP,AUD,HKD,SGD,TRY,ZAR,CAD,CHF,BRL

69
cryptocurrencies

FTX is an exchange built by traders for traders, with a range of derivatives markets such as options and futures with deep leverage, in addition to standard spot markets. Note: Not available for US customers.
eToro Cryptocurrency Trading
Bank transfer, Credit card, Debit card, Neteller, PayPal, Online banking, Skrill
EUR, GBP, NZD, USD, AUD, CAD, HKD, SGD, CHF, NOK & 5+ more

27
cryptocurrencies

Disclaimer: Volatile investment product. You should consider whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money.
Copy the trades of leading cryptocurrency investors on this unique social investment platform. $200 minimum deposit.
Coinmama Cryptocurrency Marketplace
Bank transfer, Credit card, Cryptocurrency, Debit card
USD, EUR, AUD, CAD, GBP, JPY

10
cryptocurrencies

Founded in 2013, CoinMama lets you buy and sell popular cryptos with a range of payment options and quick delivery.
Gate.io Cryptocurrency Exchange
Cryptocurrency
USD, EUR, GBP, HKD, SGD, AUD, CHF, MXN

820
cryptocurrencies

Finder exclusive: New users get $90 worth of Gate.IO points and an airdrop of $5 in GateTokens if trade volume exceeds $100 in their first week. T&Cs apply.
A feature-rich exchange with over 700 tokens including derivatives, yield farming and lending products.
Bittrex Global
Bank transfer, Credit card, Cryptocurrency, Debit card
USD

281
cryptocurrencies

Buy from one of the largest cryptocurrency exchanges with a selection of over 190+ cryptocurrencies and 3 USD pairings.
Bitfinex Professional Trading Exchange
Credit card, Cryptocurrency, Bank Wire
USD, EUR, GBP, JPY

168
cryptocurrencies

Cryptocurrencies are a highly volatile investment product. Your capital is at risk.
Spot trade all of the major cryptos on this full-featured exchange and margin trading platform.
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Compare up to 4 providers

Name Product Deposit methods Fiat Currencies Cryptocurrencies
Binance Cryptocurrency Exchange
Bank transfer (ACH)
USD, AUD, GBP, EUR, RUB, TRY, NGN, UAH, PHP, CZK & 20+ more

315
cryptocurrencies

Promo: New users earn up to USD 100 in bonus rewards on qualified deposits and trades. Valid till 31 December 2021. T&Cs apply.
Finder Exclusive: Get 10% discount on your fees when signing up through Finder.
Trade an extensive range of reputable coins on this world-renowned exchange, popular for its high liquidity and multi-language support.

US residents: As of September 2019, US-based users can only trade USD on the American dollar onramp of Binance, Binance.US.
UK residents: In addition to normal crypto trading services, Binance offers margin lending. As this is a regulated activity which they are not authorised to offer in the UK, we advise you not to use this service. If you're interested in margin trading, see authorised providers.
Crypto.com App
Credit card, Cryptocurrency, PayPal, TransferWise, SEPA
USD, AUD, CAD, CHF, EUR, GBP, NZD, SGD, JPY, ZAR & 9+ more

153
cryptocurrencies

Buy 100+ cryptocurrencies, earn up to 14.5% p.a. on holdings, pay with your crypto for cashback at stores, get loans and more with this complete crypto-finance platform.
KuCoin Cryptocurrency Exchange
Cryptocurrency, PayPal, Wire transfer, Credit or Debit Card, SEPA
USD, EUR, GBP, RUB, CNY, AUD, KRW, JPY, TRY, VND & 40+ more

434
cryptocurrencies

Finder exclusive: Sign up and use code 1xf56 for one month of VIP 1 benefits. Deposit/transfer more than 0.1 BTC to KuCoin within 7 days of registration for 1 month of VIP 2 benefits. T&Cs apply.
Browse a variety of coin offerings in one of the largest multi-cryptocurrency exchanges and pay in cryptocurrency.
Gemini Cryptocurrency Exchange
Bank transfer (ACH)
USD, AUD, CAD, EUR, GBP, SGD, HKD

46
cryptocurrencies

Trade bitcoin, Ethereum and more at a US-based exchange where payments can be made in USD.
FTX Cryptocurrency Exchange
Credit card, Wire transfer, Silvergate Exchange Network (SEN), Signature SIGNET
USD,EUR,GBP,AUD,HKD,SGD,TRY,ZAR,CAD,CHF,BRL

69
cryptocurrencies

FTX is an exchange built by traders for traders, with a range of derivatives markets such as options and futures with deep leverage, in addition to standard spot markets. Note: Not available for US customers.
eToro Cryptocurrency Trading
Bank transfer, Credit card, Debit card, Neteller, PayPal, Online banking, Skrill
EUR, GBP, NZD, USD, AUD, CAD, HKD, SGD, CHF, NOK & 5+ more

27
cryptocurrencies

Disclaimer: Volatile investment product. You should consider whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money.
Copy the trades of leading cryptocurrency investors on this unique social investment platform. $200 minimum deposit.
Coinmama Cryptocurrency Marketplace
Bank transfer, Credit card, Cryptocurrency, Debit card
USD, EUR, AUD, CAD, GBP, JPY

10
cryptocurrencies

Founded in 2013, CoinMama lets you buy and sell popular cryptos with a range of payment options and quick delivery.
Bittrex Global
Bank transfer, Credit card, Cryptocurrency, Debit card
USD

281
cryptocurrencies

Buy from one of the largest cryptocurrency exchanges with a selection of over 190+ cryptocurrencies and 3 USD pairings.
Gate.io Cryptocurrency Exchange
Cryptocurrency
USD, EUR, GBP, HKD, SGD, AUD, CHF, MXN

820
cryptocurrencies

Finder exclusive: New users get $90 worth of Gate.IO points and an airdrop of $5 in GateTokens if trade volume exceeds $100 in their first week. T&Cs apply.
A feature-rich exchange with over 700 tokens including derivatives, yield farming and lending products.
Paybis Cryptocurrency Exchange
Bank transfer, Credit card, Cryptocurrency, Neteller, Skrill, Apple Pay
EUR, GBP, USD, AUD, CAD, PHP, SGD, CHF, HKD, JPY & 30+ more

32
cryptocurrencies

Buy Bitcoin and other popular cryptocurrencies with credit card or debit card on this digital cryptocurrency exchange.

US residents: Restricted in the following states - NY, CT, NM, WA, HI, AL, VT, FL, AK, NV.
Bitfinex Professional Trading Exchange
Credit card, Cryptocurrency, Bank Wire
USD, EUR, GBP, JPY

168
cryptocurrencies

Cryptocurrencies are a highly volatile investment product. Your capital is at risk.
Spot trade all of the major cryptos on this full-featured exchange and margin trading platform.
AAX Cryptocurrency Exchange
AAX Cryptocurrency Exchange
Alipay, Bank transfer, Cash, Neteller, PayPal, Qiwi, SWIFT, WeChat, Western Union, UPI, IMPS, Paytm, Faster Payments (FPS), PayNow, Swish, Payme
AUD, CAD, CNH, CHF, EUR, GBP, HKD, NZD, SGD, USD

110
cryptocurrencies

Make fast transactions including spot, futures and P2P trading with this cryptocurrency exchange.
OKEx Cryptocurrency Exchange
Bank transfer, Cryptocurrency, iDEAL, PayPal, POLi, SEPA, Faster Payments (FPS)
USD, CNY, EUR, ARS, AUD, BGN, BRL, CAD, CHF, COP & 20+ more

270
cryptocurrencies

Promo: Earn US$10 in BTC when you refer a friend and they purchase $100 of cryptocurrency. T&Cs apply.
Listing over 100 cryptocurrencies, OKEx offers its users a variety of payment methods and coins to choose from.
Coinbase Digital Currency Exchange
Bank transfer (ACH), Credit card, Debit card, PayPal, Bank transfer (SEPA)
USD, EUR, GBP, CAD, MXN, HRK, CZK, DKK, CLP, BGN & 10+ more

73
cryptocurrencies

Buy and sell major cryptocurrencies on one of the world's most renowned cryptocurrency exchanges.
CEX.IO Cryptocurrency Exchange
Bank transfer, Credit card, Cryptocurrency, SWIFT, SEPA, Faster Payments (FPS)
USD, EUR, GBP, RUB

22
cryptocurrencies

Disclaimer: Highly volatile investment product. Your capital is at risk.
Use your USD, EUR or RUB to buy and sell cryptocurrency at competitive exchange rates and with high maximums for verified accounts.
StormGain Cryptocurrency Exchange
StormGain Cryptocurrency Exchange
Cryptocurrency
USD, EUR, AUD, CHF, CZK, DKK, GBP, HUF & 5+ more

23
cryptocurrencies

Stormgain aims to make cryptocurrency trading easy, and also lets you buy crypto with fiat via Simplex.

UK residents: In addition to normal crypto trading, Stormgain offers margin lending. As this is a regulated activity which they are not authorised to offer in the UK, we advise you not to use this service.
Liquid Cryptocurrency Exchange & Margin Trading
Bank transfer, SEPA
USD, JPY, EUR, SGD, AUD, HKD

127
cryptocurrencies

Promo: Get 10% off your trading fees. T&Cs apply.
Disclaimer: Highly volatile investment product. Your capital is at risk.
Liquid is a unified, globally-sourced trading platform that bridges the worlds of fiat and crypto.
Huobi Cryptocurrency Exchange
AdvCash, Cryptocurrency, SWIFT, Wire transfer
GBP, USD, AUD, EUR, INR, BRL, KHR, CAD,CNY, NZD & 15+ more

228
cryptocurrencies

Huobi is a digital currency exchange that allows its users to trade more than 190 cryptocurrency pairs.
Bithumb Cryptocurrency Exchange
Cryptocurrency
KRW

192
cryptocurrencies

A global platform where users can make KRW and cryptocurrency deposits to purchase up to 15 popular cryptocurrencies.
Bitstamp Cryptocurrency Exchange
Bank transfer, Cryptocurrency, Credit or Debit Card, SEPA, Faster Payments (FPS)
USD, EUR, GBP

35
cryptocurrencies

A global cryptocurrency exchange that facilitates crypto to fiat transactions, where you can use EUR or USD to buy bitcoin and popular altcoins.
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Compare up to 4 providers

Will Bitcoin Cash overtake bitcoin?

No one can say for sure, but you’ll find a lot of strong opinions in both directions. However, bitcoin’s transaction functionality seems to be the main issue.

For example, the first major Bitcoin Cash growth spurt came at the start of November 2017, following the news that the bitcoin B2X hard fork was cancelled. This hard fork was intended to solve some of bitcoin’s transaction problems. When it was called off, people argued that the growth came from users trading their BTC for BCH.

The second major growth spurt came around the end of December 2017, when the bitcoin mempool had been clogged up (as above) for the better part of a month, and there was growing dissatisfaction with bitcoin’s yet-to-be-released lightning network.

You will need to decide whether bitcoin’s transaction functionality will continue to affect Bitcoin Cash’s growth as well as consider what will happen if bitcoin ever solves these problems.


Disclaimer: 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.

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