With a market capitalization of $7,434 million, Bitcoin Cash (BCH) is the fourth most valuable crypto asset. In a bid to propel it to higher grounds — more importantly in their quest to be technically superior than Bitcoin, Roger Ver’s Bitcoin cash conducted a system-wide upgrade, a soft fork. The intention here is to introduce privacy and scalability features through a Schnorr signature implementation.
However, as it has turned out, the upgrade had some complications brought about by a bug, that, although not related to the upgrade, affected the mempool, the holding bay of yet to be processed BCH transactions. The glitch temporarily forced an undesired hard fork as the bug caused a series of empty transactions being added to the mempool, stalling processing.
BitMEX Research noted the issue:
“It appears as if there may be a problem with the Bitcoin Cash hard fork upgrade, the number of txs per block is low (0 in the last 9 blocks, other than the Coinbase txn). Our mempool has 1622 txs.”
The same was noted by a Redditor who noted:
“Looks like there was a small bug in the mempool-acceptance rules for after the HF (hard fork) for reference-client-derived nodes. From what I currently understand, it looks like the operation count was being validated with the old rules, not the new one.”
Everything Now Under Control
Upon noticing the empty transactions, developers were quick to release a patch which returned everything under control.
“It is now possible the bug on the currently longer upgraded hard fork chain may have been fixed since the blocks are starting to contain transactions again,” updated BitMex Research after the code fix.
Additionally, the BCH community was advised to avoid engaging with the shorter chain that is using the original ruleset.
Details had emerged that most miners in the Bitcoin Cash community were applying the rules as defined in Bitcoin ABC’s software instead of the those provided by the Bitcoin Unlimited (BU).
With miners using a single form of software, the Bitcoin ABC platform was arguably centralized. As such, the rate at which the transactions arrived on the mempool was higher than the validators could handle.
To protect its users, Poloniex, one of the leading crypto exchanges, took precautions and halted deposits and withdrawals.
In a tweet, Poloniex said:
“BCH had an issue with the planned hard fork scheduled for today. As a result, we have disabled deposits and withdrawals for BCHABC until further notice. BCH core developers are working on it. Thank you for your patience.”
Perhaps this was after Arthur Haye’s BitMEX warning that the then situation made the BCH “network not unsafe for payments.”
The Bitcoin Cash chain has split into two chains. A hardfork occurred at block 582,679, however since that block, upgraded and non-upgraded nodes have split onto different chains.
— BitMEX Research (@BitMEXResearch) May 15, 2019
As Bitcoin Cash was busy finding a solution for the bug, others may be pointing blaming fingers at their problems since they were not supportive of a hard fork in the first place. One such camp being Bitcoin XT, a fork of Bitcoin Core.
Bitcoin XT Had Reservations
The team behind Bitcoin XT had earlier indicated that they were not appreciative of BCH’s hard fork. Reason? BCH has too much control over decisions being made on the platform.
According to Bitcoin XT developers:
“Instead, they pursue a strategy of scheduled hard forks at regular intervals. Such a strategy allows for a majority implementation to effectively act as gatekeepers of determining the content of these scheduled forks and is anything but representative. The artificial deadlines are a centralizing and ultimately destabilizing force on development.”
Fortunately, the effect of Bitcoin XT’s views may not cause so much damage considering only six nodes are active compared to BCHABC’s and Bitcoin Unlimited’s 800 and 700 nodes, respectively.