It’s been five days since BCH hard forked into the Bitcoin SV and Bitcoin ABC chains, and the battle between the two competing networks shows no sign of letting up.
There’s also no respite from the war of words between SV’s main advocate Craig Wright and ABC head Roger Ver, which continues to play out on Twitter, Reddit, and anywhere else opinionated blockchain promoters can be found.
At the same time, in the run up to the split (and beyond), sites like Blockchain, CoinDance and fork.lol have given empirical context to the rivalry between the two camps. Sites like these and many others provide easily accessible data on block size, transaction value, network fees, and many other categories, taken directly from nodes running on each of the blockchains concerned.
Using data from a range of sources, we looked into the numbers to see how SV is currently performing against ABC, and where the strengths and weaknesses of each can be found.
Hash rate—a measure of mining power on a blockchain—has been the single biggest point of contention in the rivalry between the ABC and the SV chains. For almost all of the time since the BCH hard fork that created them, ABC has boasted more hash power, but as the chart shows, there have been occasions when SV’s hash rate rose above that of ABC.
However, at time of writing, after surpassing ABC in the early hours of Monday morning, SV’s hash rate was way down.
However, the dramatic nature of the BCH hash war shouldn’t obscure the fact that the combined hash rate of both chains is still nowhere near that of the bitcoin network.
Using numbers from a snapshot taken at 12 a.m. on Monday, we can see that the total hash rate of both BCH forks accounts for roughly 1/5th of the hash rate of the bitcoin network. According to fork.lol, Bitcoin ABC has consistently represented between 85 and 90 percent of this total hash power.
Having benefited from a higher hash rate for most of the time since the hard fork, ABC has mined more blocks overall than SV since the BCH chain split in two. At time of writing, the Bitcoin ABC chain was more than 40 blocks longer than the Bitcoin SV chain, with this lead only growing bigger.
Wright, for his part, has downplayed the fact that SV’s hash power has generally been inferior. But as ABC shows all signs of stabilizing as the longest chain, exchanges are beginning to regard ABC as the new Bitcoin Cash.
The one area in which Bitcoin SV dominates is in the size of blocks being mined, as can be seen in the chart below. (The scale is logarithmic, so each major interval is an order of magnitude larger than the last.)
The biggest Bitcoin ABC block in the dataset is 3,999 KB, whereas the biggest SV block is 31.9 MB, four times larger than the maximum allowable BCH block before the chain split.
However, the larger blocks don’t reflect genuine cash transactions. The SV network is currently “stress testing,” meaning that the network is deliberately being flooded with dummy transactions to test capacity. Once the stress test is over, actual block size is sure to fall more closely in line with that of ABC’s blocks.
With many exchanges having frozen trading of any BCH-derived assets after the hard fork, it’s hard to provide an accurate price comparison.
Poloniex is one of the main exchanges currently trading Bitcoin SV, which is trading at around $60 against the USDC stablecoin at time of writing, although CoinMarketCap puts it in the $70-80 range. Bitcoin ABC is faring far better, with a 24-hour high of $297 and a low of $223 against the USDT on the Binance exchange.
With a large margin of both uncertainty and volatility in many of the figures quoted, it’s hard to make any fine-grained analysis. That said, even at the macro level, Bitcoin SV is starting to show signs of creaking under the pressure. In the fickle world of crypto trading, this may be enough to send its supporters running towards safer alternatives.