An anonymous team has forked the Bitcoin blockchain again, creating an alternative Bitcoin cryptocurrency. The hard-fork, Bitcoin Atom (BCA), claims to be addressing the problems of increasingly expensive trading fees, transaction delays, and exchange hacks that are present in Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, and Bitcoin Gold in various ways by allowing users to exchange cryptocurrencies using atomic swaps.
“Bitcoin Atom is going to allow everyone to easily exchange cryptocurrencies without any trading fees and no exchange hacks, making Bitcoin truly decentralized again,” says Rodney Goedhart of Comelite IT Solutions.
The technology is based on atomic swaps, a tool that allows for the direct exchanging of multiple cryptocurrencies without the need for an external centralized exchange platform. Currently, atomic swaps require highly technical skills, preventing its widespread adoption, but Bitcoin Atom intends to solve this. The Lightning Network already utilises this technology, but the BCA blockchain will be the first Bitcoin blockchain to embed the technology within the original code.
Atomic swaps currently work by using a hash time-locked contract, which leverages the potential of multisignature addresses and time-locks. They allow for two parties to exchange different cryptocurrencies even when they don’t trust each other so don’t want to be the first one to send their coins. For example, to exchange 1 BTC for 1 LTC, both parties would submit transactions to both the Bitcoin and Litecoin blockchains, sending their coin to the other party. However, each party can only claim their coin if they reveal a secret number only they know to the other party. With this secret number, the other party can claim their coin.
Taking after Bitcoin’s original pseudonymous creator, Satoshi Nakamoto, the anonymous team will begin the mining process, before open sourcing their code while continuing to support the fork privately by building a block explorer, wallets, and Lightning Network implementation. They claim that the fork’s use of atomic swaps will return Bitcoin to its decentralized roots, as outlined in the original 2008 whitepaper, that defined the cryptocurrency as a “peer-to-peer electronic cash system”. BCA will also be Segwit-enabled and utilise hybrid consensus and the Lightning Network.
The fork took place at block number 505888 on January 24th, implemented by a self-described “experienced development team… which has been together for half a decade, and has produced many projects in the blockchain space, including centralized exchanges, blockchain explorers, smart contracts”. The team has no investors, so all development will be self-funded.
“If you hold Bitcoin (BTC), you can get an equivalent amount of Bitcoin Atom (BCA) from one of our exchange or wallet partners. And whether or not you hold Bitcoin (BTC), you can purchase Bitcoin Atom (BCA) from any of our exchange partners. Please see the full list of current Bitcoin Atom exchange and wallet partners at https://bitcoinatom.io/” says their Medium blog post.