Bitcoin Cash or Bcash: What's in a Name?
As Bitcoin Cash, or Bcash, is slowly but surely turning into a functioning cryptocurrency, one topic remains contentious in particular: its name.
Many proponents of the coin, judging by popular sentiment on social media like Reddit and Twitter, prefer the initial name: Bitcoin Cash. But an increasing number of users, including many who are more skeptical of the new coin, consider this name too close to “Bitcoin” and therefore confusing. They instead refer to the new coin as “Bcash.”
“The ‘Bitcoin Cash’ project didn’t have time to prepare branding prior to splitting from Bitcoin, so the community provided a name and logo to help the project succeed on its own merits,” said “BashCo”, the pseudonymous moderator of the r/Bitcoin subreddit who labelled the new coin as “Bcash” in a much-read “sticky” on that subreddit.
In its short history, what we now know as “Bitcoin Cash” and “Bcash” has already gone through several name changes.
The project was first publicly introduced on June 14. At that point it was referred to as Bitmain’s “contingency plan,” which the hardware manufacturer would launch in case the BIP 148 user-activated soft fork took off. An implementation of this plan was presented a little over two weeks later as “Bitcoin ABC” at the Future of Bitcoin conference in Arnhem, the Netherlands. But as it turned out, this was actually the name of the specific software implementation presented — not of a (future) currency.
This distinction became clear another two weeks later, as Chinese mining pool ViaBTC announced to realize the Bitcoin ABC plan to create a new coin, which it would call “Bitcoin Cash,” with the ticker BCC.
It didn’t take long for people to realize this was problematic. On the r/btc subreddit, user “paleh0rse” first suggested a name change, because “the full name ‘Bitcoin Cash’ is going to confuse the living shit out of newcomers, the general public, and media alike.” paleh0rse instead proposed the name “Bitcash”, but this suggestion didn’t gain much traction.
On top of that, the ticker BCC was already taken at several exchanges. In most cases, BCC is associated with BitConnect Coin, a top-20 cryptocurrency by market cap according to coinmarketcap.com. And major Bitcoin exchange Bitfinex uses the ticker BCC for BTC futures in case Bitcoin Unlimited creates a new currency (BTU). As a result, some exchanges list the new coin under an alternative ticker: BCH.
It was one of these exchange, Bitfinex, that also announced a full name change for the cryptocurrency itself. As opposed to ViaBTC, Bitfinex decided it would use the name “Bcash” instead of “Bitcoin Cash” as the descriptive name: “to avoid confusion with Bitcoin.”
Bitfinex’s lead was followed by two of the three wallets that initially decided to integrate the new coin: hardware wallet Trezor and multicurrency wallet Jaxx. In a statement on Twitter, Jaxx COO Charlie Shrem explained that they, not unlike Bitfinex, made their choice in order to avoid user confusion.
“We have hundreds [of] thousands of users who have no clue what’s going on,” Shrem wrote. “Saying ‘bitcoin cash’ is confusing as hell to them. Unless you’re in user ops for a big company you probably have no idea how much people don’t understand technicals of bitcoin. 99.9999% #bitcoin users aren’t on Twitter or Reddit and don’t know anything technical about it.”
Similarly, when asked by Bitcoin Magazine, Trezor architect Marek “Slush” Palatinus explained:
“The reason we prefer to use ‘Bcash’ is to protect users from using the wrong wallet by accident. This would be a huge problem especially because Bcash has the same address format as Bitcoin, so we cannot protect users on the application level. We asked the Bcash team to change the address prefix before launch, which would solve it. But they refused.”
These concerns do appear to be backed by real-world data. A survey conducted by Pierre Rochard suggests that some 25 percent of regular people don’t know that “Bitcoin Cash” is distinct from “Bitcoin.” And so far there are, indeed, a number of reports on social media from users that accidentally sent BTC to a BCH wallet or vice versa.
Yet, Bitcoin Cash proponents remain unconvinced.
Many maintain that the name “Bitcoin Cash” simply is what the new coin is called, and claim that the name “Bcash” is mostly pushed by those who disapprove of the project. Some even go so far as to consider the rebranding insulting or even a “social attack” on the new cryptocurrency, solely intended to “degrade” it to an altcoin like any other.
Bitcoin ABC lead developer Amaury “Deadal Nix” Sechét and one of the initiators of the project told Bitcoin Magazine that he does not like the "Bcash" rebrand version either. Ironically, where “Bitcoin Cash” critics don’t like the name because it confuses users with Bitcoin, Sechét thinks that using a new name for Bitcoin Cash is confusing.
“Pushing for a second name is an attempt at confusing users. The people who do this don't have the best interest of users in mind,” he said. “If everyone would switch to ‘Bcash’ I would also switch. But it looks like that name comes from a very loud minority. And I think ‘Bitcoin Cash’ is better anyways: Bitcoin forked in two branches. These two branches are now two flavors of Bitcoin.”
So far, most companies that integrated the new coin into their service in one way or another, including Bittrex, Changelly and BTC.com, have also chosen to use the name “Bitcoin Cash.”
The same is true for instant cryptocurrency exchange ShapeShift.
When asked by Bitcoin Magazine, Emily, the official spokesperson for ShapeShift, explained:
“We decided to call it Bitcoin Cash because that is what the developers of the project call it. We aren’t taking any political sides on this matter and are just treating it as we do any other asset that is in high demand by our users.”
There is no clear resolution for this “conflict.”
While someone, somewhere may have a trademark on the name “Bitcoin,” this trademark has so far never been enforced. And with no government, company or any single entity in charge of the cryptocurrency, anybody can ultimately call the new coin whatever they like.
Furthermore, since even Bitcoin users that are critical of the new project received a share of BCH, it’s no stretch to assume that the majority of BCH holders are fine with “Bcash” or even prefer it.
“Bcash is our coin too,” BashCo pointed out. “The backlash against ‘Bcash’ is unfortunate considering that many of us who realize that ‘Bcash’ is superior branding are holding exactly as many Bcash tokens as we hold in Bitcoin tokens. We want to help Bcash develop into a strong brand that will compliment Bitcoin without confusing users.”
But of course, the most ardent supporters of the new project disagree that “Bcash” is any better, and it seems unlikely they'll give up on the name "Bitcoin Cash". Specifically, they generally prefer to keep the word “Bitcoin” in the name because, from their point of view, the coin is a continuation of the Bitcoin project they got involved in.
“I'd say the name, ‘Bitcoin Cash’ conveys what the project intends to do, while also differentiating from Bitcoin, as Bitcoin decided to go in another direction than peer-to-peer cash,” Séchet said. “People who see anything else in there, like an attempt at confusing users, are projecting.”
And while Séchet did acknowledge the problems presented by the similar names, he prefers to solve these problems through other means.
“I agree it’s a problem if users accidentally send BTC to Bitcoin Cash addresses, or the other way round,” he said. “For this very reason, changing the address format is in the plans. But note that even when a coin is sent to a wrong address, that coin is not lost forever. As long as you hold the private keys you can retrieve the funds.”
Bitcoin Magazine has decided to use “BCH” for the same reason some exchanges did: “BCC” is taken. Moving forward, we’ll refer to the new coin as “Bitcoin Cash” as well as “Bcash” for short, not unlike “Segregated Witness” and “SegWit.”
Disclaimer: The author of this article received BCH and has not sold all of it yet.