How have BTC and Bitcoin Cash diverged through upgrades?

Bitcoin (BTC) and Bitcoin Cash (BCH) have diverged in many ways through upgrades on each chain, particularly through the numerous upgrades on Bitcoin Cash. The following categories illustrate many of the key divergences.

Block Size and Scalability:

  • BTC: Maintained its 1 MB block size limit, relying on Segregated Witness (SegWit) and off-chain solutions like the Lightning Network for scalability. Results in a constantly congested network.
  • Bitcoin Cash: Eliminated the hard block size limit and introduced a configurable block size. It successfully increased the Excessive Blocksize limit (EB) to 32 MB, aiming for higher throughput. A May 2024 upgrade will will activate an adaptive block size limit algorithm that will constantly adjust the block size, with a baseline of 32 MB, as the needs of the network evolve.

Transaction Policies:

  • BTC: Retained its opt-in Replace-By-Fee (RBF) policy and is poised to introduce full RBF by default.
  • Bitcoin Cash: Removed RBF, emphasizing swift and hassle-free transactions in everyday commerce.

Address Format:

  • BTC: Continued to use legacy addresses.
  • Bitcoin Cash: Introduced CashAddr format for clarity and to prevent confusion with BTC addresses.


  • BTC: No significant introduction or reintroduction of opcodes.
  • Bitcoin Cash: Reintroduced old opcodes and added new opcodes, providing flexibility for data manipulation, native introspection, and diverse applications.

OP_RETURN Size Increase:

Transaction Ordering:

  • BTC: No standardized transaction ordering protocol.
  • Bitcoin Cash: Implemented Canonical Transaction Ordering (CTOR) for consistent block reconstruction and improved block propagation.

Advancements in Block Propagation:

  • BTC: No specific protocol introduced.
  • Bitcoin Cash: Implemented Graphene for faster block propagation. More advanced protocols like XThinner and BlockTorrent in development.

External Message Validation:

  • BTC: No specific opcodes for external message validation.
  • Bitcoin Cash: Introduced OP_CHECKDATASIG and OP_CHECKDATASIGVERIFY for validating messages from external oracles.

Schnorr Signatures:

  • BTC: Implemented Schnorr signatures via the Taproot soft fork upgrade.
  • Bitcoin Cash: Adopted Schnorr signatures natively for enhanced privacy, scalability, and non-malleability.

Unconfirmed Transaction Chain Limit:

  • BTC: Retained a limit on unconfirmed transaction chains.
  • Bitcoin Cash: Eliminated the limit, allowing flexibility in scenarios involving frequent transactions.

Difficulty Adjustment Algorithms:

Double-Spend Detection:

  • BTC: No network-wide standard for detecting double-spends.
  • Bitcoin Cash: Introduced Double-Spend Proofs to provide merchants rapid notifications of attempted fraud.

Virtual Machine Improvements:


  • BTC: No direct support for native tokens.
  • Bitcoin Cash: Implemented CashTokens, enabling native tokens on the blockchain with the power of BCH scripting capabilities, allowing for many new and diverse use cases.

UTXO Fastsync & UTXO Commitments:

  • BTC: No specific protocols or plans for faster syncing.
  • Bitcoin Cash: In development, allowing for faster and trustless syncing.

Reusable Payment Addresses:

  • BTC: No specific plans for reusable payment addresses.
  • Bitcoin Cash: In development, aiming to simplify recurring payments while maintaining privacy.

BTC has generally opted for conservative upgrades, off-chain scaling solutions, and maintaining a smaller block size. In contrast, Bitcoin Cash's approach has been marked by frequent hard forks, rapid development, and a focus on on-chain scalability and usability. Both have evolved in response to their respective visions and community priorities.

Learn more in our deep dive into the differences between BTC and Bitcoin Cash.

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