Bitcoin Cash is one of the most successful hard forks1 of Bitcoin. Like its predecessor, Bitcoin Cash is a decentralized, peer-to-peer (P2P) digital currency and payment network supported by an open-source blockchain protocol. Created on August 1, 2017, led by a group of developers concerned over Bitcoin’s ability to scale transaction throughput effectively, Bitcoin Cash was integrated with software modifications to allow for the two networks to exist concurrently, independent of one another. Today, there are multiple developer groups maintaining and contributing to the codebase.2

As a result of lucrative mining incentives and support from prominent, vocal opponents of Bitcoin’s approach to achieving scalability, Bitcoin Cash has risen above the crowded digital currency landscape to become the fourth largest network by market cap.3

Learn more about the history and defining characteristics of Bitcoin Cash in our report, which is part of the Building Blocks series:

1. Forks are modifications to the source code of a network protocol and there are two main types. Soft forks are software upgrades to the main protocol and are backwards-compatible. The implementation of Segregated Witness (SegWit) to the Bitcoin network in August 2017 is a prime example of this. Hard forks result in the creation of an entirely new blockchain, allowing for two currencies to exist concurrently, and are not backwards-compatible. Two examples of hard forks of the Bitcoin network are Bitcoin Cash and Bitcoin Gold, formed in August 2017 and October 2017, respectively.
2. Bitcoin ABC. https://www.bitcoinabc.org/.
3. As of September 30, 2019.