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Bitcoin Gold is Coming This Week: a Brief Crash Course

This October 25th, the resulting coin of the Bitcoin Gold hard-fork will be made available to the general public. Bitcoin Gold (BTG) will accordingly arise from Bitcoin (BTC).

Users who held BTC during an as-yet undisclosed date during the past month will then have access to an equivalent amount of BTG.

Who’s Doing the Forking?

The independent development team behind the Bitcoin Gold project are solely responsible for this hard-fork.

This BTG hard-fork has nothing to do with the SegWit2x hard-fork in November that seeks to increase Bitcoin’s block sizes to 2MB.

After October 25th, then, there will be four factions in the Bitcoin community.

  • BTC – current incumbent chain
  • BCH – 8MB block believers
  • BT2 – wants SegWit2x
  • BTG – return to GPU mining (we’ll touch on this in a second)

Trigger Block Number

Developers have officially stated the Bitcoin Gold fork will occur around block number 491407, which should happen on October 25th.

Internet sleuths, however, have made a compelling case that BTG was already forked off for pre-mining purposes around September 28th, 2017, around block number 487427. Read below in the “Controversies” section to find out more.

As Coinbase puts it:

“The fork has already privately occurred at a point known only to the Bitcoin Gold development team. The Bitcoin Gold blockchain will be made publicly available when the Bitcoin blockchain reaches block number 491,407”

What’s the Plan?

Once BTG is made available to the general public, look for the newly forked coined to begin hitting exchanges after November 1st.

Why?

The BTG development team wants to decentralize Bitcoin mining once more. BTG is an attempt to alter Bitcoin’s consensus algorithm in a way that allows miners to mine Bitcoin with Graphic Processing Units (GPUs).

Being able to use GPUs to mine BTG will help to level the playing field with institutional miners that currently dominate hashpower, in that non-institutional miners can now readily mine BTG.

Can I Make Money Off This Fork?

Yes. It’ll be similar to the Bitcoin Cash hard-fork, where BTC users received an equivalent amount of BCH that was then able to be sold and bought on exchanges.

Unlike BCH or the impending BT2 fork, though, BTG isn’t expected to siphon any serious amount of money out of BTC’s price. Accordingly, the price of BTG will likely be extremely volatile upon hitting exchanges as the market determines its valuation.

One easy way to capitalize financially on the fork is to move your BTC to an exchange that has promised to automatically credit BTG to their customers after the fork. Though, to be sure, few exchanges have made this promise so far.

For their part, Coinbase has declared they will not be supporting BTG in the immediate future, though they left open the possibility of doing so at a later date. Their problems with the coin boils down to the Bitcoin Gold developers’ refusal to make their code public, a “major security risk.”

Controversies

Some users on Reddit have been sounding off on BTG red flags.

Some revelations seem to indicate the BTG team has been pre-mining the coin since Sept. 28th, having accrued over 200,000 BTG in secret.

Other major controversies stem from allegations that BTG’s Proof-of-Work (PoW) is incomplete, and replay protection has yet to be implemented.

What’s This Mean for Bitcoin’s Price?

Amateur BTC investors hoping to mistakenly capitalize on what now appears to be an already hard-forked BTG could lend strong short-term upward pressure on BTC’s price.



TLDR: Bitcoin Gold is the other hard-fork you should know about. With money to be made and red flags being waved, here’s what you need to know. 

William M. Peaster is a cryptocurrency journalist and copy-editor based out of El Paso, Texas. He's an avid fan of Ethereum, ERC-20 tokens, and smart contracts in general.

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