Bitcoin Gold (BTG)—A forked chain that split off from the incumbent Bitcoin (BTC)—arrived in the crypto community on October 24th, 2017. We previously covered the announcement of the Bitcoin Gold fork earlier in the month.
It’s been a volatile entry, too, as BTG’s price has plunged over 60% since the new altcoin started trading on exchanges. The market’s trying to place the value of Bitcoin Gold after the project’s developers were rocked with allegations of pre-mining over the past few weeks.
Will BTG provide enough benefit to weather the scandal? Or will it join other smaller “BTC alts” by fading into obscurity?
Time will reveal soon enough. For now, though, let’s walk you through everything you need to know about this coin that, on paper, looks interesting in the least.
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How BTG differs from BTC
BTG differs from BTC in one main way: it’s been repurposed to allow GPU (graphics processing unit) mining.
In a more technical sense, what’s occurred is that BTG’s developers have modified Bitcoin’s consensus algorithm in a way that will allow miners to begin using GPUs for mining.
Bitcoin doesn’t allow for GPU mining, which is computationally easier, and as such, Bitcoin mining has become centralized in the hands of a few industrial-grade mining operations—many of them located in China.
This shift to GPU mining will have a decentralizing effect, or so the project’s devs hope. The philosophy as laid out in the team’s white paper is that more everyday users will be capable of GPU mining and thus hash power can be re-distributed away from corporate operations.
- Through BTG, you won’t need expensive, enterprise-quality mining equipment to profitably mine a BTC-like chain. GPU mining should, in theory, have a decentralizing effect.
- It’s free money, however low its price falls, in that BTG’s the result of a fork from the main BTC chain. If you held BTC at the time of the split, you now have an equal amount of BTG.
- Over the past few days, the BTG development team have become embroiled in a pre-mining scandal that’s made them seem incompetent—and even nefarious, to some in the community.
- Evidence suggests the BTG team started pre-mining BTG on Sept. 28th, performed in secret and without feedback from the community.
- If that date is correct, BTG’s devs would’ve accrued approximately 200,000 BTG between now and then.
- This comes after the BTG team flip-flopped several times, first saying they were, and then they weren’t, going to be pre-mining BTG. This marks a significant breach of trust.
- The BTG team are refusing to release the project’s code for now, too, leading Coinbase to refuse to support BTG out of security concerns.
Long Term Propects
For now, BTG’s cons certainly outweigh its pros. But it’s still clearly impossible to say whether the coin will have a future in the space or not.
If BTG’s GPU mining capabilities catch on, the altcoin will certainly have brighter—and more stable—days ahead.
How Bitcoin users can claim their BTG
First off, if you had your Bitcoin on an exchange during the fork, check with your exchange’s particular policy on Bitcoin Gold. They might’ve supported the split, and if they did, your BTG should already be sitting comfortably in your account.
If, on the other hand, you were holding your BTC in a personal wallet, check your wallet provider’s website for further guidance on how they’ve handled the split. They’ll certainly point you in the right direction.
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