Bitcoin is a decentralized peer-to-peer electronic cash system that does not rely on any central authority like a government or financial institution. All transactions are recorded on a global public ledger called the blockchain.
Bitcoin was first described in a white paper written by an anonymous person who went by the name Satoshi Nakamoto in 2008.
Nobody controls or owns Bitcoin. Transactions cannot be altered or censored
Only 21 million will ever be created, defeating the inflationary issues that plague all fiat currencies
The ability to make reliable, fast, affordable transactions is a paramount tenet of Bitcoin
Bitcoin is an open source software project, so anyone can review and make changes to the code. Debate on the best code changes and implementations are always happening and is the key to a healthy and decentralized ecosystem.
Over the years Bitcoin has grown into a worldwide phenomenon. As Bitcoin grew in popularity it became apparent that the Bitcoin community needed to solve a scaling issue.
The problem was, as more people used the network, the limited size of the 1MB blocks within the blockchain started to become full. This lead to less reliable transactions and much higher transaction fees, which undermines the ease of use of the entire system.
This issue led to a rift within the Bitcoin community who were conflicted as to the best way to solve this scaling issue.
A small but vocal group felt the need to maintain 1MB block sizes, and work on off-chain settlement layers - still in development today. They wanted to shift Bitcoin away from electronic cash into a collectible settlement layer. This group consisted mainly of developers from the Blockstream Company.
During this pivotal time, this group also took part in wide spread censorship across the major Bitcoin discussion channels, removing any dissenting opinions or contributors.
The other side wanted to increase the block size, allowing for more transactions per block. This instant, on-chain upgrade would keep transactions reliable and fees low, as the blocks would no longer be full. Their argument was unfortunately met with censorship and irrational propaganda, and it became clear Bitcoin as a usable digital cash for the world was in trouble.
On August 1, 2017, the developers of Bitcoin-ABC initiated a hard fork of the Bitcoin blockchain to increase the block size. This new chain had 8MB blocks and was called Bitcoin Cash.
The hard fork was executed without any issues, and the Bitcoin Cash upgrade made Bitcoin usable as cash again. Transaction fees are low, transaction times fast, and most importantly the Bitcoin Cash community is united in the original vision of Bitcoin as cash for the world.
The BCH and BTC camps have gone their separate ways, but the contentious debates rage on.