A new bitcoin fork called UnitedBitcoin appears to have the backing of one of the earliest Bitcoin developers.

The success of bitcoin cash, and, to a lesser extent, bitcoin gold, has incentivized developers to attempt to turn a profit by hard forking the main Bitcoin blockchain to create new altcoins. At least seven forks will take place during the month of December, and more will likely follow, at least until “fork fatigue” sets in and the scheme is no longer profitable.

Like most of these forks, it is difficult to identify the purpose of UnitedBitcoin (UBTC), but, oddly enough, this project appears to have backing from one of the biggest names in the cryptocurrency space: Jeff Garzik.

When UnitedBitcoin first claimed to have support from Garzik, many people believed it was a hoax. However, Garzik confirmed the news in an interview with Bloomberg, and he apparently promoted UnitedBitcoin at a tech event this week.

united bitcoin fork
Source: UnitedBitcoin/Twitter

One of the earliest Bitcoin developers, Garzik also served as lead developer for SegWit2x, a contentious Bitcoin protocol upgrade that was ultimately called off just days before it was set to activate. Garzik is also currently working on Metronome, a cross-blockchain cryptocurrency that will be distributed through an ICO-style auction.

Purportedly, UnitedBitcoin will introduce a number of new technologies into the codebase, including native support for smart contracts and a lightning network. Like Bitcoin Cash, the new blockchain will also feature 8MB blocks, demonstrating a commitment to on-chain scaling.

“UB is not looking to replace Bitcoin, but rather is looking to support the progression of the ecosystem by introducing new technologies faster,” said Garzik in a press release. “We look forward to this exciting next phase in Bitcoin’s evolution.”

Matthew Roszak, who — along with Garzik — co-founded blockchain firm Bloq, concurred, lauding UnitedBitcoin for its support for innovative features.

“This ecosystem is a movie, not a static picture – the pace of innovations being developed in this industry is incredible. UB has created a platform and philosophy of adopting new features and functions for a broad community of market participants,” said Roszak in the announcement.

But while the project may have nominal backing from Garzik and Bloq, it is not clear to what extent the firm is involved in the project or whether Garzik has even reviewed the code. A cursory glance at the UnitedBitcoin GitHub repository reveals that Garzik has not made any commits to the project — a very different scenario from SegWit2x.

This is troubling, especially considering that UnitedBitcoin’s marketing materials heavily emphasize his role in the project but say little about the rest of the team. It is also disconcerting that the UnitedBitcoin codebase includes a function called “godMode” that, apparently, gives the developers the ability to seize coins at the time of the fork and grant them to the UnitedBitcoin foundation.

unitedbitcoin fork
Source: GitHub

The developers state that they will only take “inactive coins,” but — given that most bitcoin holders treat their coins as a store of value — it is likely that the vast majority of coins will be deemed inactive.

There is still much to be learned about UnitedBitcoin, as well as Garzik’s actual involvement with the project, so bitcoin holders should probably proceed with extreme caution if they intend to interact with the fork and claim their UBTC.

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bitcoin cash logo fork

Bitcoin Classic declares that bitcoin cash has achieved victory in the scaling wars following the cancellation of bitcoin’s SegWit2x hard fork, and it is celebrating that achievement by shutting its doors.

In a surprise announcement,  Classic release manager Tom Zander stated that the software development project that began in 2016 with the goal of returning bitcoin to its philosophical roots as a peer-to-peer electronic cash system has completed its goal and is no longer necessary.

Classic’s original intention was to promote on-chain scaling within the original Bitcoin network, helping the network scale to accept increasing numbers of users without forcing them to pay excessive transaction fees. Those attempts foiled, Classic ultimately followed the Bitcoin Cash hard fork, leaving the “Legacy Bitcoin” chain behind.

The announcement comes just days after SegWit2x — hard fork that intended to increase the Bitcoin blocksize from 1 MB to 2 MB — was suspended indefinitely by its leading advocates due to a lack of community consensus. Classic cited this development as confirmation that Satoshi’s vision — as supposedly manifested through bitcoin cash — will endure, while those who follow the Legacy chain will “go down with their ship.”

“The fact that the Legacy chain is stuck at 1 MB, and likely always will be, confirms the Cash chain’s viability,” Zander wrote. “And that means that Classic has fulfilled its promise.”

This promise fulfilled, Zander writes that he feels confident shuttering Classic ahead of its upcoming hard fork, which will implement a new difficulty adjustment algorithm in an attempt to bring stability to the network’s wild hashrate and blocktime fluctuations.

Of course, one must wonder if part of Zander’s decision to conclude the project ahead of the hard fork stems from his objection to the specific details of the fork proposal, some of which he says were made for political purposes rather than technical ones. Due to its sudden closure, Classic will not be releasing software that is compatible with the fork.

In any case, Zander believes that the future is bright for bitcoin cash. In fact, he believes that it will soon eclipse Legacy Bitcoin to become the dominant cryptocurrency. “In at most 6 months I’m sure we’ll just drop the “Cash” and call it “Bitcoin,” he concludes.