What is bitcoin cash?

According to one estimate, the process of mining bitcoins and keeping the network running uses more energy than Belgium in a year. CNN's Clare Sebastian reports on the network's vast energy usage.

Posted: May 7, 2021 5:21 AM
Updated: May 7, 2021 5:21 AM

A cryptocurrency that looks and sounds a lot like bitcoin has creeped up into the top 10 biggest digital currencies list: bitcoin cash.

Bitcoin cash shares most of its code with bitcoin. But it is significantly faster at processing transactions.

The cryptocurrency is having a moment: It surged more than 11% Thursday, and more than 300% this year, according to Coinbase.

Here's what you need to know about the bitcoin cousin that's rapidly growing in popularity.

What is bitcoin cash?

Bitcoin cash was developed in 2017 as a split-off of bitcoin, known as a "fork" in crypto parlance, to solve some of bitcoin's issues as it grew more popular. Bitcoin, which runs on a decentralized ledger system known as blockchain, can only process a maximum of seven transactions per second, making it a less-than-ideal crypto for everyday transactions.

"Bitcoin cash is the version of bitcoin that implemented an increase in the transaction capacity," digital currency economist Alex de Vries told CNN Business.

The bitcoin cash creators aimed to raise bitcoin's block size limit of one megabyte every 10 minutes — which translates to a maximum of seven transactions per second — to eight megabytes every 10 minutes, de Vries said. Bitcoin cash blocks can go up to 32 megabytes.

The creators of bitcoin cash, "wrote an update for the Bitcoin software which increased the transaction limit," de Vries said, and thus, the new cryptocurrency was born.

Bitcoin cash split in two in 2018, in a similar situation, creating another fork called bitcoin SV, which, with a market value of nearly $8 billion, is currently ranked at number 19 on the top digital currencies list on Coinbase.

What's the difference between bitcoin cash and bitcoin?

For starters, there's less demand for bitcoin cash. Bitcoin is by far the largest digital currency, with a market value of more than $1 trillion, according to Coinbase. Bitcoin cash, on the other hand, just passed Litecoin to become No. 10 on the list of largest digital currencies, with a market value of almost $26 billion.

Although both have 18.7 million digital coins in the universe, demand isn't nearly the same for bitcoin cash as for bitcoin: One coin of bitcoin costs about $57,168 right now, and one coin of bitcoin cash costs about $1,412.

"Bitcoin cash has proven itself to be one of the most resilient cryptocurrencies in the digital currency ecosystem today," Konstantin Anissimov, executive director of international cryptocurrency exchange CEX.IO, told CNN Business.

Bitcoin cash was supposed to boast faster transaction speeds than bitcoin, but that that didn't exactly pan out the way the creators expected. Bitcoin cash transaction confirmation times remain higher than bitcoin transaction confirmation times for a host of complicated reasons. Still, bitcoin cash has a distinct advantage over bitcoin: It's cheaper to use.

Bitcoin transaction fees have spiked as high as $60 on average, according to Coindesk. And bitcoin cash's average transaction fee is currently just $0.28, according to BitInfoCharts. Transaction fees apply any time you transfer coins, either to someone else as a payment or to your own wallet, de Vries said.

Ready to buy bitcoin cash?

Most of the popular bitcoin exchanges will also allow you to buy bitcoin cash. For example, you can purchase the cryptocurrency on Coinbase, the digital currency exchange that went public in April.

Bitcoin cash has shot up more than 139% in the past month. It's relatively cheap per coin compared to other popular cryptocurrencies such as ethereum and the original bitcoin, but it's pricier than meme-turned-cryptocurrency dogecoin, which is currently only $0.60 per coin.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 515504

Reported Deaths: 10296
CountyCasesDeaths
Harrison34999558
DeSoto33360432
Hinds32743643
Jackson24906392
Rankin22565405
Lee16455245
Madison14954283
Jones14158248
Forrest13834260
Lauderdale12311323
Lowndes11357193
Lamar10693140
Pearl River9748244
Lafayette8868143
Hancock7849132
Washington7559169
Oktibbeha7229138
Monroe7068179
Pontotoc7033110
Warren6885178
Panola6791135
Neshoba6744210
Marshall6707142
Bolivar6468151
Union643598
Pike5942157
Alcorn5921107
Lincoln5540136
George510680
Prentiss508285
Tippah495683
Itawamba4884107
Scott478999
Tate4777117
Adams4776125
Leflore4749144
Copiah458195
Yazoo458092
Simpson4566117
Wayne443472
Covington434895
Sunflower4319106
Marion4295112
Coahoma4244110
Leake414191
Newton396182
Tishomingo386894
Grenada3789109
Stone366166
Jasper341266
Attala340490
Chickasaw318367
Winston318392
Clay312978
Clarke301695
Calhoun286850
Holmes272889
Smith270552
Yalobusha244947
Tallahatchie232353
Greene225149
Walthall222166
Lawrence220242
Perry214556
Amite210357
Webster206548
Noxubee188843
Montgomery182157
Carroll175441
Jefferson Davis174343
Tunica163539
Benton153139
Kemper145441
Choctaw137027
Claiborne134839
Humphreys132239
Franklin126530
Quitman107828
Wilkinson106139
Jefferson97134
Sharkey65321
Issaquena1957
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 847659

Reported Deaths: 16172
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson1163752005
Mobile743371381
Madison53434738
Shelby38413371
Baldwin38171589
Tuscaloosa36131643
Montgomery34571782
Lee25664264
Calhoun22622519
Morgan22527408
Etowah20059520
Marshall18821318
Houston17769426
St. Clair16946359
Limestone16192220
Cullman16140305
Elmore15948295
Lauderdale15055307
Talladega14244302
DeKalb13061271
Walker12138380
Blount10765193
Autauga10545157
Jackson10204195
Coffee9435192
Colbert9363210
Dale9038192
Tallapoosa7283202
Russell710165
Chilton7078170
Covington6967197
Escambia6962144
Franklin6364108
Chambers5795142
Marion5435130
Dallas5302210
Pike5128109
Clarke485686
Lawrence4845130
Winston4785110
Geneva4650136
Bibb435495
Barbour370180
Butler3444101
Marengo342793
Monroe338366
Randolph337767
Pickens334790
Fayette331485
Henry321066
Cherokee319964
Hale318889
Crenshaw261678
Washington256852
Cleburne255460
Lamar253555
Clay252069
Macon245767
Conecuh193562
Coosa185847
Wilcox178338
Lowndes178268
Bullock152745
Perry141840
Sumter139741
Greene130345
Choctaw94328
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