As the latest currency to fork off the Bitcoin (BTC) blockchain, Bitcoin Gold (BTG) is bound to attract some attention. But it seems like there is nothing else people want to talk about…
Investors kept asking me about it last week. And, at the same time, Google searches for “How to get Bitcoin Gold” surged 900%. Can Bitcoin Gold possibly live up to the hype?
At first glance, my answer was “Yes.”
There are, after all, strong correlations between Bitcoin prices and Internet searches. If you look at data, the relationship is quite clear. When investors start reading about a currency, they are extremely close to buying it.
It’s not hard to imagine, really. Someone hears from a friend that Bitcoin Gold is going to split from the Bitcoin blockchain…and that it could skyrocket in value…so they do a quick Google search.
Dozens of articles pop up, including this one. After a quick read, the FOMO (fear of missing out) kicks them in the chest. What if this Bitcoin Gold skyrockets like Bitcoin? I missed out on that opportunity to get rich. I can’t let that happen again…fool me once…
And boom. Just like that, Bitcoin Gold secures a little more demand.
Knowing this, I was tempted to turn bullish on Bitcoin Gold. Its ability to gin up investor enthusiasm was impressive. But then I dug a little deeper…
…and it turns out the rollout of Bitcoin Gold was mismanaged. Well and truly bungled, to put it mildly. One Twitter user summed up the situation in a trio of perfect tweets.
The awkward release of BTG makes it a much more dangerous investment than Bitcoin Cash. That said, if those glitches are sorted out in the coming weeks, we could see it soar dramatically.
If you’re still on the fence about this cryptocurrency, here are five questions that should be answered before investing.
What Is Bitcoin Gold?
Bitcoin Gold, or BTG, is an altcoin that was created while trying to upgrade the original Bitcoin. It aims to “make Bitcoin decentralized again,” which is an obvious play on the successful slogan coined by President Donald Trump.
However, the upgrade did not receive widespread support.
Since Bitcoin upgrades require near universal consent, disagreements among core developer group led the currency to “fork” along two paths. One stays the same, the other spins off. This time, the failed upgrade became known as Bitcoin Gold.
The Bitcoin Gold mining process began on October 24, 2017. The currency is being created in secret before being released to the public. Plus, roughly one percent of the total supply of tokens mined before the release will go straight into the pockets of the BTG development team.
That part of its release had received a lot of criticism.
If you’re wondering why the splitting of Bitcoin’s blockchain isn’t wreaking havoc on markets, it’s because Bitcoin has suffered a “fork” before.
A previous attempt to upgrade the currency led to the creation of Bitcoin Cash, or BCH, on August 1, 2017. However, these two currencies are not identical. In fact, their visions of Bitcoin were almost diametrically opposed.
It should be noted that neither the BCH fork nor the BTG fork has dethroned the original Bitcoin. BTC prices have continued to skyrocket, passing $5,000 in the months after BCH was born, and $6,000 after BTG.
How Is BTG Different from BCH?
Both Bitcoin Cash and Bitcoin Gold believe that Bitcoin was flawed in some crucial way, but they disagree on the problem. Bitcoin Gold specifically believes that Bitcoin miners have become too powerful in determining the future of the currency. They also believe that Bitcoin mining has become too centralized, and so their upgrade tried to level the playing field.
The BCH split, meanwhile, revolved around issues of scaling. The core developers of Bitcoin were split over how best to expand the blockchain’s capacity and efficiency. That friction led to the creation of Bitcoin Cash and another fork, which is scheduled to take place before the end of the year.
What Exchange Will Support Bitcoin Gold?
There are roughly 20 exchanges carrying Bitcoin Gold. They are:
- Change Now
*All the exchanges with an asterisk are trading in futures as well.
How Will Bitcoin Prices React to BTG Fork?
So far, Bitcoin prices are largely unmoved by the BTG fork. But once again, part of that is the fault of BTG developers. They failed to make an impact with the rollout of the currency, a fact that becomes glaringly obvious by the market’s reaction. It was a giant shrug.
That said, we could start to see investors hedge their bets ahead of the SegWit2x fork. We saw a similar scenario in the past month, whereby Bitcoin Cash benefitted from the BTG fork. Some money flowed into BCH, likely as a hedge, inflating its price significantly.
Having such a rotation from BTC to BTG is possible, I suppose, but in terms of the Bitcoin Gold forecast, it’s unlikely to exceed 10% of Bitcoin’s current value. If we had to stake a BTG price prediction, we believe five percent of Bitcoin’s value is appropriate.
At the moment, it is trading at around $135.23, or roughly 2.17% of BTC.
How to Mine Bitcoin Gold?
Below is a list of Bitcoin Gold mining pools:
- Server Power
- Nibiru Pool
- BTG Mine
Considering that decentralizing mining power is a core feature of Bitcoin Gold, the technology required to mine BTG is less sophisticated. You won’t need to shell out thousands of dollars for an ASIC mining machine—a simple GPU will suffice.
Investors that consider Bitcoin a volatile investment should probably sit this one out. Bitcoin Gold is on shaky ground and has been ever since it was conceived. It is unlikely to supplant the original blockchain.
Nevertheless, the question remains: How do you upgrade an open source, consensus-driven software whose founder remains in the shadows?
That is the question plaguing Bitcoin.
As long as it goes unanswered, we’re going to have fork upon fork upon fork. Just look at Ethereum by comparison. After its first—and, to be fair, disastrous—fork, it has managed to pull off several upgrades quite smoothly.
Part of the reason the upgrades went smoothly is that we could turn to its founder and ask if the upgrades fit with his original vision. His name is Vitalik Buterin and he’s very active in the blockchain community. Meanwhile, no one knows who invented Bitcoin!
All we have to go on is a pseudonym, Satoshi Nakamoto, and a trail of breadcrumbs.