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Wait, what? There’s more than one Bitcoin? As if getting a handle on cryptocurrencies wasn’t hard enough, we’re now entering the days of multiple Bitcoin currencies. I guess you could compare it to dollars: there’s both the US dollar and the Canadian dollar, and they clearly have quite different geographical uses. But as you can probably imagine, things are slightly more blurred when it comes to the blockchain.

Bitcoin Cash is one of the most famous altcoins. It walks the wobbly line between fading into myriad other altcoins and grasping the fame and fortune of the original Bitcoin.

Bitcoin Cash came to fruition in August 2017 after a hard fork and a split in the Bitcoin blockchain. There are constant debates and many opinions about how best to cultivate cryptocurrency, and Bitcoin Cash is a direct result of the argument.

In this guide, you’ll find out what exactly makes Bitcoin Cash special, who’s working with the currency, and where to get your hands on some.

What is Bitcoin Cash?

Bitcoin Cash stems from the scalability issues that face Bitcoin. The original blockchain has grown exponentially in recent times. This means that many more users and transactions are using the cryptocurrency, which is weighing down the network. The limited Bitcoin block size of 1 MB means that blocks are filling up more quickly than they can be mined. Transactions have, at times, become slow and expensive.

Bitcoin Cash makes some distinct protocol changes, the main one being an 8 MB block size. This change allows for more data per block, meaning more transactions can be processed in each block mined. Many see this as a step forward in terms of how best to scale the network.

Others remain adamant that it’s simply a short-term fix that doesn’t solve the problem, and there’s no implementation of ideas—such as Segwit, whose protocol is now active on the original Bitcoin blockchain—to help effectively break transactions down into smaller, more manageable pieces. Importantly, with a split in a blockchain, currency is duplicated. This means that the historical Bitcoin transaction data were copied, and anyone with Bitcoin funds was credited with the same amount of Bitcoin Cash.

So does that mean free money? Yes, yes it does—especially when each Bitcoin Cash is valued at hundreds of dollars. Here’s our guide on how to claim your Bitcoin Cash if you owned Bitcoin before the split on August 1, 2017.

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