IMAGINE LOGGING INTO your checking account and seeing that you now also have a second account, stocked with an equal amount of a new currency. It happened yesterday to many people who hold the cryptocurrency bitcoin.
Not long after 8 am EDT, a new currency called Bitcoin Cash is due to appear, split from bitcoin in a technical maneuver called a “hard fork.” It’s the project of a group that says bitcoin’s keepers are limiting its reach by resisting change.
The creation of Bitcoin Cash is the most striking result yet of a 2-year-old feud over bitcoin’s future. Bitcoin is collectively valued at $47 billion but remains a niche product. Backers of the new currency say it’s necessary if bitcoin is to make a real mark on how the world uses money.
Bitcoin Cash’s confusing origin risks making it harder for cryptocurrencies.
Read more: Bitcoin Is Splitting in Two. Now What?