Bitcoin Gold (BTG) Goes Live

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Sun Nov 19, 2017 10:29 am

The newest fork of the bitcoin blockchain is officially live after a rocky start. Yes that is Bitcoin Gold (BTG).

Developers for the project, dubbed bitcoin gold, published software for the breakaway cryptocurrency today, releasing the code on GitHub as well. Aimed at blocking the use of specialized chips for mining, the project revealed last week it was eyeing a formal launch on Sunday, weeks after it first initiated a split from the main bitcoin blockchain.

As such, the launch caps a lengthy period of development for the cryptocurrency, which follows bitcoin cash, a near $30 billion network that split off from bitcoin earlier this summer. Bitcoin gold also represents the latest instance of an "airdropped" cryptocurrency forked from the main bitcoin chain, which is distributed to anyone who owned bitcoin at the time of the split.

Now, public mining for the cryptocurrency has begun, with several mining pools opening up in coordination with the launch. Yet the process of distributing the software – no small feat in a permissionless, open-ended environment – came with some complications.

As detailed in the project's official Slack channels, some users had problems connecting their nodes to other computers on the network. Others allege they were receiving spam messages containing links to fake (and potentially malevolent) software clients.

As might be expected, trading interest was heightened in the run-up to the launch, given that prior to the launch, several exchanges launched futures tied to bitcoin gold. The price of those futures has seen significant volatility in the past several days, exceeding $500 in value earlier this weekend.

Currently, (bitcoin gold) BTG futures are trading between roughly $260 and $290, according to CoinMarketCap – a decline of over 30 percent in the past 24 hours.
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Sun Nov 19, 2017 10:32 am

After weeks of preparation, Bitcoin Gold (Bgold; BTG) is finally launching tomorrow, November 12, 2017.

Bitcoin Gold is the second project to fork away from the Bitcoin blockchain to create a new coin this year; on August 1, Bitcoin Cash (Bcash) was the first. Where Bcash attempted to offer an on-chain scaling solution by increasing Bitcoin’s block size limit (while removing the Segregated Witness code), Bgold is an attempt to counter Bitcoin’s mining centralization.

The most important difference between Bitcoin and Bitcoin Gold is a new proof-of-work mining algorithm. Instead of SHA256, the new coin uses the memory-hard Equihash proof-of-work function that’s also used in the privacy-focused altcoin Zcash. This means that specialized ASIC hardware that has come to dominate Bitcoin’s mining ecosystem will not be able to mine Bgold.

Although Bgold is launching this weekend, the fork “officially” occurred on October 25. Anyone who held bitcoin (BTC) on that day (specifically, when Bitcoin block 491406 was mined) will have an equivalent amount of BTG (Bitcoin Gold) attributed to their private keys. These private keys can be imported into a dedicated Bgold wallet, which, starting tomorrow, will allow users to spend the coins. (But note that this does not come without risks and tradeoffs: If you’re not sure what you’re doing, it’s best not to ignore BTG until you do.

Other changes implemented by Bitcoin Gold are mostly to ensure a smooth split away from Bitcoin. This includes a new difficulty re-adjustment algorithm named “DigiShield” that adjusts the mining difficulty each time a block is found — instead of once every two weeks. Bgold also includes strong replay protection, ensuring that no users spend BTC when they mean to spend BTG, and vice versa. Additionally, BGold implemented a new address scheme, preventing users from spending BTC to BTG addresses and vice versa.

Bitcoin Gold will be supported by a relatively large number of exchanges, including major players like Bitfinex, OKex and HitBTC. Several of these exchanges are effectively supporting BTC/BTG trading already through futures markets. Ignoring an initially inflated price, these futures have traded at around 0.02 BTC in recent weeks, with a notable surge to about 0.042 BTC at the time of writing this article. If this holds up, 1 BTG would be worth almost $250, and Bgold would immediately become a top-5 altcoin on websites like coinmarketcap.com.
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