For months, a technical quirk has led some users of both cryptocurrencies to lose money, temporarily and permanently. But it appears that nightmare scenario may soon be in the past, as bitcoin cash’s developer team recently announced it is taking steps to address the problem.
To recap, bitcoin cash originally split from bitcoin earlier this summer in an attempt to experiment with a different long-term technical vision for the technology. For all their differences, though, it’s their similarities that are causing the problem.
When bitcoin cash created a new blockchain from bitcoin’s transaction history, it took much of the old code along with it, including the address format that users use to send money. The problem with that is, if users aren’t paying attention, they can send bitcoin cash to their bitcoin addresses, or vice versa.
A quick google search unearths dozens of forum posts where users complain of this problem.
“I accidentally sent my BTC to a BCC address. Is there a way to recover them? Is there somebody that can help me with this matter?” pleaded one user on Bitcoin Stack Exchange, a technical forum.
“It was about $500 worth. I feel like an idiot!” said another requesting help.
The solution, however, is within reach: the address formats simply need to be changed so they aren’t compatible. And Amaury Séchet, lead developer of Bitcoin ABC (a bitcoin cash software implementation), believes achieving this should be the project’s next big step.
When announcing his work on a new address format called cashaddr, he called it a “pressing” change, contending that the change could be made as soon as December.
He added later:
“In order to reduce confusion for users with the use of different addresses, I think it is important to deploy this shortly and stop the fragmentation of the ecosystem.”