What Is Bitcoin Cash and How Does It Work?

Learn the difference between Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash

Bitcoin Cash is a popular cryptocurrency that was spun off from the original Bitcoin blockchain as part of a fork in 2017. Fans of Bitcoin Cash often praise its potential for processing more transactions at a faster rate than Bitcoin and it’s widely supported by most cryptocurrency wallets, Bitcoin ATMS, and crypto exchanges.

A cryptocurrency fork is when a blockchain is copied and given to another group of developers. The copy then becomes a new cryptocurrency that can be re-branded and changed while the original remains intact. Litecoin was created by forking the Bitcoin blockchain, as were Bitcoin Cash and Bitcoin Gold.

Bitcoin Cash is also referred to as Bcash in many places and, rather controversially, has also been known to be referred to simply as Bitcoin, which can cause a lot of confusion among casual crypto traders and investors.

BCH vs BTC

The BCH designation is used to identify Bitcoin Cash on trading platforms and in wallets. This is the officially recognized code for the Bitcoin Cash digital currency.

Screenshot of the Bitcoin Cash cryptocurrency from the Coinbase website.
Coinbase

In the early days of Bitcoin Cash, some people used BTH and BCC to refer to Bitcoin Cash. Both have since been phased out and should no longer be used as BTH is now the official designation for Bithereum while BCC is used for the now defunct BitConnect Coin.

It’s important to remember when trading that only trades using BCH contain Bitcoin Cash.

Some may casually refer to Bitcoin Cash as BTC Cash. This is because BTC is the designation for Bitcoin on trading platforms and can be read as Bitcoin.

Bitcoin vs Bitcoin Cash

The Bitcoin Cash vs Bitcoin rivalry has been a constant since the infamous fork in 2017 due to the developers behind each cryptocoin, and their supporters, feeling so passionately about each cryptocurrency.

Despite having Bitcoin in its name, Bitcoin Cash is a completely separate cryptocoin than Bitcoin and has its own value and type of wallet addresses.

The main argument for Bitcoin Cash over Bitcoin is its support for larger data block sizes which allow it, on paper, to process more transactions on the Bitcoin Cash blockchain. It should be mentioned, though, that projects such as the Lightning Network, a layer of programming that works on top of the Bitcoin blockchain, have increased Bitcoin transaction speeds to the point where speed isn’t really an issue anymore.

The green Bitcoin Cash logo on the left and the orange Bitcoin logo on the right.

Bitcoin, in general, will be supported by most online and offline business that accepts cryptocurrency payments while support for Bitcoin Cash is often less prevalent. Both have solid support from software and hardware cryptocurrency wallets, centralized and decentralized cryptocurrency exchanges, and online marketplaces such as Coinbase.

It’s unrealistic to expect Bitcoin Cash to overtake Bitcoin in value and usage, however, some may use it as an altcoin.

Altcoin is a phrase used by cryptocurrency enthusiasts to refer to any cryptocoin other than Bitcoin. Ethereum, Monero, Litecoin, and all of the other Cryptocurrencies are altcoins.

What Can I Use Bitcoin Cash For?

Bitcoin Cash can be used to make purchases from any businesses that accept the cryptocurrency. A variety of offline businesses and online storefronts accept Bitcoin Cash payments but it’s important to check before making a purchase as support for cryptocoins in general has yet to go mainstream and isn’t accepted everywhere.

There is a difference between Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash. You cannot send Bitcoin Cash to a Bitcoin address. If you do so, your Bitcoin Cash coins will be lost. You must send Bitcoin Cash transactions to a Bitcoin Cash address and Bitcoin to a Bitcoin address.

What’s a Good Bitcoin Cash Wallet?

All of the major cryptocurrency wallets support Bitcoin Cash. Some of the best software wallets for Bitcoin Cash are Exodus and Coinbase Wallet while hardware wallets made by Ledger and Trezor are known for their reliability and safety.

Where Can I Buy Bitcoin Cash?

You can trade other cryptocurrency, such as Bitcoin or Ripple, for Bitcoin Cash on an exchange but the easiest way to get Bitcoin Cash is to perform a swap on ShapeShift or buy some on Coinbase or CoinJar.

Where Can I Sell Bitcoin Cash?

The best way to convert your Bitcoin Cash into real-world fiat money is to use an online service such as CoinJar or Coinbase which can make the trade for you and deposit the money into your bank account.

You can also use an ATM that supports Bitcoin Cash deposits and withdrawals but these can be hard to come by.

How Can I Accept Bitcoin Cash Payments?

To receive a payment in Bitcoin Cash from other people, you’ll need to set up a Bitcoin Cash wallet either online or within an app. You can also us a physical hardware wallet such as the Ledger S or Ledger X.

If you’ve bought Bitcoin Cash on Coinbase, you’ll already have a wallet and can receive payments directly into your Coinbase account.

Once you have a Bitcoin Cash wallet, simply share the wallet address with the person you want to receive Bitcoin Cash from.

A Bitcoin Cash wallet address as seen on the Coinbase website.
Coinbase

If you run a business, you may want to print out the wallet address’ QR code and place it near your register or checkout for customers to scan.

If you plan on getting payments in Bitcoin Cash for work, make sure to check your wallet’s balance on your phone, tablet, or computer to ensure that your customer or client has sent you the correct amount.

What is Bitcoin SV?

Similar to how Bitcoin Cash was a fork of Bitcoin, Bitcoin SV is a fork of Bitcoin Cash. The fork was initiated in late-2018 with the aim of creating a cryptocurrency that used the same technology behind the Bitcoin blockchain but would have a larger block size limit than Bitcoin Cash.

The SV in Bitcoin SV stands for Satoshi's Vision. Satoshi was the original creator of Bitcoin whose name true identity remains a mystery.

While based on the same technology and containing the word Bitcoin in its name, Bitcoin SV is a completely separate cryptocurrency than Bitcoin Cash and should not be confused with it.

Alternative Cryptocurrencies to Bitcoin Cash

Bitcoin Cash may have its fans but the original Bitcoin is consistently more valuable and more popular than it and every other cryptocurrency on the market.

If looking for a non-Bitcoin cryptocoin to invest in or experiment with, Litecoin and Ethereum have both proven themselves to be reliable cryptocurrencies in their own right and have each been around for a relatively long time.

Despite its popularity, cryptocurrency is still in its early stages and should be approached with caution when investing.

The relatively new cryptocurrency, Tron, is an interesting coin to check out for those with a passion for digital media while Ripple, also relatively new compared to Bitcoin, is growing in popularity and actually set a new daily transaction record in late-2019, sending more money over its blockchain than Bitcoin, Ethereum, Bitcoin Cash, and Litecoin.

The aim of the information on this page is to educate the reader on the basics of cryptocurrency investing but it is not intended as financial advice or an endorsement for any specific cryptocurrency. Everyone is solely responsible for their own financial decision and a professional financial adviser should be consulted before making any major money decisions.