What is Bitcoin SV? Beginner's Guide
Bitcoin’s originator, Satoshi Nakomoto is credited with the creation of Bitcoin, the oldest and largest cryptocurrency. The vision which he (or she or they – as Satoshi’s identity remains unconfirmed until today) laid out in the Bitcoin Whitepaper has proved to be revolutionary, as well as inspirational to many.
With the growth of Bitcoin’s popularity and the community around it, came discussions and eventually disagreements about how to best realize that vision. In August 2017, Bitcoin underwent a hard fork which created what is known today as Bitcoin Cash. In November 2018, Bitcoin Cash was forked again to create Bitcoin SV – or as it is known by its full name: Bitcoin Satoshi’s Vision.
What is Bitcoin SV used for?
The name of Bitcoin SV (Satoshi’s Vision) points to the goal of its proponents – to facilitate a world money on the model outlined in the Bitcoin Whitepaper. To do this, the BSV community, led by Wright, moved to further increase the block size to 2GB with the Quasar upgrade. In February 2020, Bitcoin SV underwent a hard fork, labelled “Genesis,” which – among other things – removes the block size limits and restores certain functionalities of the Bitcoin scripting language.
Despite the focus on “peer-to-peer” electronic cash, there are indications that Bitcoin SV is being used for a variety of use cases beyond money.
One BSV-powered application, WeatherSV, uses the blockchain to record large amounts of weather and climate data, while Memo and Twetch act as a blockchain-based social network.
nChain itself is working on the possibility of migrate healthcare data to the BSV blockchain, with a proof-of-concept together with EHR Data announced in February 2020 in London.
The future of Bitcoin SV
After a contentious and somewhat rocky start, Bitcoin SV has settled into a top five position (at the time of writing) among the top cryptocurrencies by market capitalization.
The immediate aftermath of the hard fork from Bitcoin Cash and the ensuing struggles for hash power saw the cryptocurrency’s price fluctuate dramatically after trading initially at around $113. It also initially struggled with its much larger block size, undergoing several block reorganizations during its first few months of existence.
Almost a year later, volatility continued as the price topped $400 before correcting back to just above $200 at the time of writing.
Nevertheless, the BSV community remains focused on its vision. With an average transaction fee of $0.00065, the goal of being able to provide a “stable protocol with on-chain scalability” for world-wide transactions would seem feasible.
Who created Bitcoin SV?
As with Bitcoin Cash, the creation of Bitcoin SV was largely linked to the debate on scaling the Bitcoin blockchain. After forking from the Bitcoin blockchain, Bitcoin Cash implemented changes to increase the block size – and thus the number of transactions which can be recorded and confirmed in a single block – from 1MB to an eventual 32 MB.
The team of nChain led by Daniel Connolly and Steve Shadders as well as Chief Scientist Craig S. Wright set out to raise the block size limit even more – to 128 MB. This was meant to help preserve and support the original vision of Satoshi’s whitepaper whereby Bitcoin would be a peer-to-peer electronic cash system by facilitating larger transaction throughput and keeping transaction fees low.
The differences between Wright and Bitcoin Cash backer Roger Ver eventually grew strong enough that Wright and his supporters made plans to redirect their mining power in order to back a hard fork of the Bitcoin Cash blockchain, which eventually took place at block no. 556766.
Wright and nChain continue to be the main backers of Bitcoin SV with support from a variety of developer, industry and mining groups including Calvin Ayre’s CoinGeek, the Bitcoin Association founded by Jimmy Nguyen and Mempool.