The bitcoin community has been been in turmoil over the past three years. In recent months, this has rapidly escalated to war over the arguably “trivial” question of how to update the network to accomodate more transactions.
In May 2017, two groups got together to negotiate a compromise in order to overcome the stalemate that existed with regard to the upgrade. When these factions teamed up, however, they failed to include the primary bitcoin developers.
Their solution, the hard fork, was designed to split the network and create two separate chains. It was nicknamed SegWit2x for the two solutions it brought together in compromise: the original SegWit, and the fork to a 2MB block. The possibility of these competing chains becoming a reality has fueled acrimony in the bitcoin world for months.
With the hard fork creeping up on the 16th November, the coalition called off its plans 8 days beforehand in a brief email sent by the lead developer on the team planning to hard fork:
"Our goal has always been a smooth upgrade for Bitcoin. Although we strongly believe in the need for a larger blocksize, there is something we believe is even more important: keeping the community together. Unfortunately, it is clear that we have not built sufficient consensus for a clean blocksize upgrade at this time. Continuing on the current path could divide the community and be a setback to Bitcoin’s growth. This was never the goal of Segwit2x. ... We are suspending our plans for the upcoming 2MB upgrade."
Upon the release of this news, the renownedly volatile price of bitcoin leapt to approximately $7,800.
This latest move comes hot on the heels of an announcement by CME Group that it would launch bitcoin futures, causing the price of bitcoin reached to reach an all-time high of approximately $7,500. The digital currency’s market capitalisation rocketed upwards of $125 billion, which could be attributed to new money flooding in.
So-called chain split tokens which functioned like futures markets indicated that the original chain with a 1MB block was strongly favoured by users -- roughly 85% -- which may have factored into the decision to suspend the fork.
While the ongoing debate may be temporarily halted due to this indefinite postponement, it remains to be seen how the underlying tension that remains in the community over how to scale the network will eventually be resolved.
Soon after this, bitcoin dropped to around $5670 (£4323). This is partly an adjustment from many moving money to altcoins (other crypto currencies) once they heard they would not get any free coins. Also, there is a theory that there was a Pump and Dump. So many of the bitcoin miners and larger holders, mainly from China, bought a load of Bitcoin Cash to inflate the value.
The bitcoin price is now on the rise again. I really think that bitcoin is currently the main and only credible crypto currency. They have a large group of developers working on it and it will be tough to beat in the near future.
Again advice is to buy bitcoin while it is lower and then hold on. People who have been investing in Crypto for 2y+ are used to their volatility. But to date the long term trajectory is up.
Read more about the original argument in What the Fork is Going on With Bitcoin?.