Bitcoin Cash, meanwhile, bitcoin competing currencies off to a slow start as traders waited for the first transactions to be put onto the network. However, a rival system has gained traction in recent days called Bitcoin Cash.

The new system was launched on Tuesday. Why is the technology changing? 1MB every 10 minutes – or seven transactions per second. This compares to 2,000 per second for Visa and means that at peak times bitcoin transactions can take hours to be fulfilled, inhibiting the currency. The two rival proposals – Segwit2x and Bitcoin Cash – are both seeking to solve this problem in different ways. Segwit2x proposes moving some of bitcoin’s transaction data outside of the block and on to a parallel track to allow more transactions to take place.

After that happens, blocks would double in size some time in November. Bitcoin Cash does not propose moving transaction data outside of each block, but wants to increase the size of each to 8MB. Its backers are sceptical that the Segwit2x plan will follow through with doubling the block size later on. Segwit2x has been adopted by enough of the bitcoin community to proceed, but in recent days more have signalled their support for Bitcoin Cash, saying the rival proposals do not go far enough. What has happened to my bitcoins? The majority of these sites have said they will proceed with the mainstream Segwit2x proposal. Blockchain, another online wallet, said it has no plans to support Bitcoin Cash but that if it ends up becoming the more popular version it will.

How much will each be worth? The bitcoin price has remained relatively stable in the run-up to the hard fork, suggesting that the mainstream Segwit2x proposal is likely to remain the main strand of bitcoin. The offshoot, Bitcoin Cash, is at present worth just a fraction of the bitcoin price. However, this remains a very speculative value based on early trading. Bitcoin Cash will only have value if traders continue to use it and some have warned it could be worth nothing. How do I get my hands on some Bitcoin Cash?

If you store your bitcoins online you are too late, since most have said they will adopt the main proposal. Bitcoin Cash will effectively run as an alternative cryptocurrency, like Ethereum, Ripple or Litecoin. Greyscale mode: is it the answer to smartphone addiction? How can I buy bitcoin in the UK? What is cryptocurrency, how does it work and why do we use it?

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