Bitvote, a recent hard fork on the Bitcoin blockchain, may truly be before its time – as in it was launched prematurely.
Bitvote (“BTV”) forked from the Bitcoin blockchain at block 505050 around January 21, 2018. Unlike many of the hard forks we’ve seen, the Bitvote development team actually bothered to slap together a roadmap and a white paper. So, we do know a bit about the new coin. Here’s the breakdown:
Larger Block Size
Like pretty much every other fork out there, Bitvote supports a larger block size. Blocks are 8MB, and the fork supports Segwit.
The Bitvote wallet has no double hashing problem, which helps guard users against double spending.
New Mining Opportunities
Bitvote runs on CryptoNight. For the time being, the CryptoNight proof-of-work algorithm can only be CPU-mined, meaning that less specialized equipment is necessary to set up a mining operation.
Bitvote elected to use CryptoNight to open up mining to more members of the crypto community. Ultimately, the platform hopes to move away from the increasingly consolidated mining pools and create a truly decentralized verification network.
What Sets Bitvote Apart?
So, what distinguishes Bitvote from the dozens of other hard forks planned this year? According to its whitepaper, anyone who owns BTV will be able to participate in the company’s decision-making through smart contracts. In other words, users and miners can vote on pre-programmed updates to the platform.
Integrating smart contracts onto the Bitcoin blockchain is a really cool idea. Unfortunately, however, it’s just that – an idea. Not a plan, not a breakthrough, just an idea. According to its roadmap, smart contracts will be added in December 2018 – an aspirational date to say the least. In the meantime, it’s just your run-of-the-mill fork with some increased minability.
Aside from an ideological attachment to democracy, Bitvote wants to disrupt the growing monopoly that large miners are establishing within the crypto markets. This is important for the evolution of the cryptocurrency market. Power is becoming increasingly consolidated into the hands of a few powerful players, which not only flies in the face of Satoshi Nakamoto’s original vision but also exposes us all to increased risk of market manipulation and fraud.
Using CryptoNight is a good first step in a meaningful direction. However, Bitvote’s lofty aspirations of implementing the Lightning Network and smart contracts before the end of the year appear to be a bit far-fetched. If the company is able to meet the benchmarks on its roadmap, it may prove to be one of the most valuable hard forks yet. If it can’t, it will simply disappear into an increasingly crowded marketplace of forked coins.