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.

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 609387

Reported Deaths: 7743
CountyCasesDeaths
Hennepin1262491796
Ramsey52997910
Dakota47216475
Anoka43200465
Washington27664296
Stearns22659227
St. Louis18245319
Scott17686139
Wright16518153
Olmsted13503103
Sherburne1212396
Carver1073749
Clay829692
Rice8249111
Blue Earth769944
Crow Wing687999
Kandiyohi669885
Chisago626954
Otter Tail590087
Benton585198
Goodhue485574
Douglas477781
Mower477533
Winona463552
Itasca462768
Isanti445566
McLeod434261
Morrison427762
Beltrami410163
Nobles409850
Steele400719
Polk390772
Becker389157
Lyon365054
Carlton356958
Freeborn350734
Pine337323
Nicollet334045
Mille Lacs314856
Brown308640
Le Sueur299527
Cass288133
Todd288133
Meeker265444
Waseca240723
Martin236933
Roseau212221
Wabasha20833
Hubbard197741
Dodge18943
Renville183146
Redwood178141
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Cottonwood168124
Wadena165023
Fillmore158910
Faribault156920
Chippewa154038
Pennington153820
Kanabec147828
Sibley147310
Aitkin139237
Watonwan13619
Rock129019
Jackson123112
Pipestone117126
Yellow Medicine115320
Pope11396
Murray107310
Swift107318
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Stevens92611
Clearwater89217
Marshall88817
Lake84320
Wilkin83813
Lac qui Parle76122
Big Stone6094
Grant5958
Lincoln5863
Mahnomen5669
Norman5509
Kittson49122
Unassigned48193
Red Lake4037
Traverse3815
Lake of the Woods3474
Cook1740

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 374664

Reported Deaths: 6109
CountyCasesDeaths
Polk58891646
Linn21448342
Scott20426250
Black Hawk16680319
Woodbury15319230
Johnson1473686
Dubuque13595213
Dallas1144099
Pottawattamie11307177
Story1082848
Warren592092
Clinton564393
Cerro Gordo562297
Webster538996
Sioux519174
Muscatine4920106
Marshall491479
Des Moines478275
Jasper452073
Wapello4366123
Buena Vista431040
Plymouth404982
Lee392658
Marion369177
Jones301257
Henry301037
Bremer292763
Carroll286252
Boone271234
Crawford270841
Benton262755
Washington259851
Dickinson250745
Mahaska232551
Jackson225842
Kossuth219166
Clay217327
Tama213372
Delaware211743
Winneshiek200636
Buchanan196734
Page195422
Cedar192923
Hardin191144
Wright189140
Fayette188243
Hamilton186851
Harrison181973
Clayton173057
Butler167835
Madison167719
Floyd164642
Mills163824
Cherokee161538
Lyon160941
Poweshiek159036
Allamakee155552
Hancock153134
Iowa148324
Winnebago145731
Calhoun143113
Cass140855
Grundy139333
Emmet136741
Jefferson134535
Sac132620
Shelby131838
Louisa130249
Union129535
Appanoose128049
Franklin127823
Mitchell127243
Chickasaw125717
Guthrie124532
Humboldt124526
Palo Alto114924
Montgomery106738
Howard105322
Clarke102424
Monroe100633
Keokuk99932
Ida92735
Adair89632
Davis86825
Pocahontas86822
Monona85931
Greene79111
Osceola79017
Lucas77423
Worth7568
Taylor67112
Decatur6629
Fremont64810
Ringgold56824
Van Buren56718
Wayne56323
Audubon52913
Adams3494
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