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The Fight Over Bitcoin's Name

Bitcoin's name dispute

December 11, 2020 | 

722 Views | 

JOHN K MWANIKI | 

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Over a decade ago, Satoshi Nakamoto released Bitcoin. It was a new form of currency that would rival the fiat currencies. It would be a decentralized system that saves the world from a similar issue as the 2008 financial crisis.

The coin did not gain so much attention in the early days. By then, it was the traditional currencies that had everything going. It had government backing with the other centralized systems in place. All the other financial systems and services have the central banks backing.

That was not to last any longer with Bitcoin gaining ground. A few of the tech-savvy individuals picked up the coin. It then started steadily growing in value. Sooner, individuals were trading the currencies through online platforms. A little longer, and there were crypto exchanges in place.

The growth was even more as the coin became useful as a medium of exchange. One of the users exchanged 10000 BTC for a box of pizza. While this remains the most expensive pizza in history, it marked a historical moment for Bitcoin.

As the coin became integral, it started facing challenges. Top of the challenges were volatility and low speeds of transactions.

There was nothing much to do about its volatile nature. The decentralized nature of the coin means it relies on market trends for pricing. The users thus accepted the changes. Some even use it as a means in trading and wouldn't want a boring period.

It then could manage to deal with the low transaction speeds. Some of the changes proposed were to increase the block size of the chain. This would allow it to accommodate more transactions hence faster speeds. The users never reached a consensus leading to a hard fork.

The hard fork is a separation of an asset from the main currency. Bitcoin's hard fork led to the creation of Bitcoin Cash. That is where the fight for Bitcoin's Name started.

The Bitcoin Cash brigade are the liberals. They believed in the changing of the Bitcoin's protocol. The Bitcoin users, though, wanted to keep the status quo.

The issue of naming rises when some Bitcoin Cash users fail to add the other name. They instead refer to it as Bitcoin. This has made the Bitcoin users feel like the Bitcoin Cash wants to ride on the coin's original title. That they want to attract users through Bitcoin's name.

Bitcoin or Bitcoin Cash? 

While there have been other Bitcoin forks, none has been divisive as the one for Bitcoin Cash. The issue runs from the start of the fork. The separation was a result of a failure to reach a consensus. For that, there has always been bad blood between the two sections. 

Even though Bitcoin Cash is a fraction of the originals coin, it claims superiority. One of such ways is that it believes it sticks to the original Satoshi Nakamoto idea of Bitcoin. Bitcoin, as it exists at the moment, is becoming more of a traditional currency. It is undergoing several regulatory changes. 

Even though it started as a decentralized coin, most governments are now looking to provide regulatory frameworks following its becoming mainstream. The regulators want it to operate like the other central bank-based currencies. Several countries, like the US and European Union, are providing legal and operational regulations for cryptocurrency operations. 

Bitcoin Cash also claims it helps in solving traders' concerns. Bitcoin came as a result of issues on the fiat currencies. It then failed to solve some of its problems like Scalability. Bitcoin Cash, though, is an improvement. It supports faster transactions and is scalable. 

One of the most prominent voices behind Bitcoin Cash's superiority claim is Roger Ver. The Bitcoin.com leader came under fire by naming Cash as Bitcoin. The educational site is one of the most popular crypto knowledge bases. 

Roger received a lot of backlash from the Bitcoin community. They have threatened to take him to court and report Bitcoin.com to the FBI's Crime Complaint Center. 

The fight between Ver and Other Bitcoin users is not the first time. It's a continuation of long years of misunderstanding between the groups. 

Ver has often claimed Bitcoin Cash fulfill Satoshi's vision of a peer to peer electronic cash system. 

Is there a Possibility of Legal Action Following the Fight Over Bitcoin's Name?

One of the possible solutions for Bitcoin users is to take legal action. They are threatening jail term for the Bitcoin Cash users failing to use the appropriate name.

Such possibilities are, however, relatively few. The decentralized nature of digital currencies means they don't have so many legal provisions. The government is yet to provide the laws that direct its operations. It would not claim an infringement on either party.

The anonymity nature of Satoshi Nakamoto also makes it hard to prosecute one over the name of the coin. With Satoshi not around, anyone has the option of claiming the product. Already, one of the people claimed to be Satoshi and copyrighted the name. With the citification, Craig Wright remains the legal owner of Bitcoin's name. He would be the one to prosecute anyone over its use. Still, he has to prove ownership.

The possibility of private individuals bringing a claim is in case of fraud. For example, if they were to buy BCH instead of BTC due to the name used. In such a case, there are unlikely jail times. The possible actions would be corrective measures or fines at most.

It takes a lot of evidence to show the naming use was in line to defraud specific people. It will also need a lot of proof that Bitcoin Cash is not the real Bitcoin. As a Bitcoin fork, Bitcoin Cash has an equal claim to Bitcoin's name

Furthermore, the defendant entity, Bitcoin.com, is not liable in the US. It does not sell BCH in the US jurisdictions. It then distinguishes Bitcoin Cash and Bitcoin Core in places it offers the assets. It would then be clear of any wrongdoing. 

Bottom Line

The lack of consensus between Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash users is a long-standing feud. Both sides believe they are the real Satoshi Nakamoto envisioned project. There are hopes, though, that such rivalries would diminish after some time. Coins like Ethereum, Ripple, and many have since come up. There would be more competition than to fight over Bitcoin's Name

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