Bitcoin Cash and Bitcoin Gold Explained

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DEFINITION

Bitcoin Cash and Bitcoin Gold are parts of an emerging peer-to-peer monetary system that exists entirely online.

What Are Bitcoin Cash and Bitcoin Gold?

Bitcoin Cash (BCH) and Bitcoin Gold (BTG) are hard forks of the first cryptocurrency, Bitcoin. A fork is a split in a blockchain—hard forks are changes significant enough that the new protocols or programming prevent backward compatibility in newly created blocks.

Developers had different ideas and concerns about Bitcoin's security, mining speed, and accessibility. They couldn't reach an agreement on how to proceed, so they created forks and new cryptocurrencies that aligned with their strategy and goals.

Bitcoin Gold

Bitcoin Gold was created in part to limit certain groups from controlling Bitcoin. Its creators thought that Bitcoin could not be mined fast enough to be accessible for everyone because enterprises with dedicated ultra-expensive mining rigs and mining farms were crowding out average miners.

Bitcoin Gold is meant to put digital mining back into the hands of everyone. Instead of needing specialized equipment, Bitcoin Gold can be mined by regular computers with dedicated graphics cards. This allows anyone with a computer to mine Bitcoin Gold, much like Bitcoin was intended to be initially.

Bitcoin Cash

Bitcoin Cash was designed to be used as a transactional cryptocurrency rather than a reward for blockchain work. It's designed to allow for transactions that happen in seconds and facilitate transactions across borders without regulation.

Special Features of BCH and BTG

The table below lists the most significant differences between BTG and BCH.

BCH vs. BTG
 Bitcoin Cash Bitcoin Gold
Hashing Function Uses the SHA-256 mining algorithm Uses the Equihash mining algorithm
Mining Can be mined on ASIC miners ASIC miner resistant
Protocol SecureSigs protocol SegWit protocol
Where to Buy Available on popular exchanges Not available on popular exchanges
Total Supply 19 million in circulation 17.5 million in circulation

How to Mine Bitcoin Cash and Bitcoin Gold

Both cryptocurrencies are minable, but Bitcoin Cash can be mined on application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC) miners created only for mining. Unfortunately, ASIC mining systems are much too fast for average miners on a computer to keep up with, so you may be limited to purchasing BCH on an exchange unless you can afford expensive ASIC machines and the energy they use.

Bitcoin Gold can be mined using a personal computer, but you'll need a modern graphics card and a mining client for the operating system you're using. Bitcoin Gold is difficult to mine on an ASIC machine because it uses the Equihash mining algorithm. Equihash is more memory intensive than SHA-256, which discourages it from being mined on ASIC miners that use computational power to solve the hash.

One of the best ways to mine both BTG and BCH is to join a mining pool that mines your coin of choice. There are several to choose from, but it's important to pay attention to fees and how you're compensated for your mining contributions.

Bitcoin Gold appears to not be under much development—there are only a few recent instances of upgrades or changes on its Github page.

How to Buy/Invest in Bitcoin Cash and Bitcoin Gold

BTG is not currently available on any centralized exchanges. You can find instances of it being traded on Bitfinex, HitBTC, and other decentralized exchanges, but U.S. residents cannot trade on these platforms.

Bitcoin Cash can be found on Coinbase, BinanceUS, FTX US, Kraken, Gemini, and many more exchanges. Prices can change by the second, so it helps to understand how these exchanges work before venturing onto them. For example, FTX US is a trading platform fit for cryptocurrency fans who enjoy trading similar to day trading, so prices fluctuate very quickly. Coinbase is a good fit for someone who wants to buy and hold or convert their cryptocurrency.

Key Takeaways

  • You can mine both Bitcoin Cash and Bitcoin Gold, but you'll need expensive hardware for Bitcoin Cash.
  • You might find it difficult to buy Bitcoin Gold, because it appears to be traded only outside of the U.S.
  • Bitcoin Cash can be purchased on cryptocurrency exchanges, but Bitcoin Gold cannot.
  • Bitcoin Cash (BCH) and Bitcoin Gold (BTG) were created as spinoffs of Bitcoin (BTC).


Article Sources

  1. Bitcoin Gold. "Bitcoin Gold."

  2. Bitcoin Cash. "Bitcoin Cash."

  3. Github. "BTCGPU Pull Requests."

  4. Coinbase. "Bitcoin Gold Price."

  5. HitBTC. "Bitcoin Gold (BTG) to Bitcoin (BTC) Exchange."

  6. Bitfinex. "Bitcoin Gold."