Overnight, thousands of Bitcoin owners saw their wealth increase significantly due to a simple change i.e. Coinbase showed balances of Bitcoin Cash in people's wallets. While these people always owned some Bitcoin Cash, most "non-technical" owners had no idea and didn't know what to make of their newfound wealth.
So, what happened? What is Bitcoin Cash? How is it different from Bitcoin and how can you invest in it?
Although there were some hiccups on Bitcoin Cash's first day that were really widely accepted, there is still an opportunity to get into this cryptocurrency - and it could even rival what investors have seen with the original Bitcoin (and other coins like Ethereum and Litecoin).
Before you start using Bitcoin Cash, you'll need a digital wallet. We recommend Coinbase, which we discuss a bit more below.
If you're considering jumping into Bitcoin Cash, make sure you fully understand the risks. We break it down as much as possible, but realize that this is extremely, extremely risky investing.
What Is Bitcoin Cash?
Bitcoin Cash is a hard fork from the original Bitcoin blockchain. This fork occurred on August 1, 2017.
If you are new to cryptocurrency investing, a hard fork is essentially a split from the original blockchain. Think of it like the Catholic Church - if you go back in time, there were several "hard forks" along the way. The biggest ones include Protestantism and Catholicism. It's very similar.
Both Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash use the same algorithm (i.e. Bible), but they have different interpretations. Once they share, Bitcoin Cash uses its protocol while Bitcoin uses its protocol.
How Bitcoin Cash is different
Technically, Bitcoin Cash wanted larger block sizes than Bitcoin - they increased the block size to 8 MB. However, everything else is pretty much the same.
The last common block of Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash was block 478558, at which point all owners of Bitcoin (on the blockchain) also received the same value of Bitcoin Cash. That's when the surprise came this morning. All holders of Bitcoin at that time received Bitcoin Cash.
But the Bitcoin Cash was not readily available to non-tech savvy investors until today, when Coinbase publicly put Bitcoin Cash on its wallet.
Bitcoin Cash is much cheaper than Bitcoin. It is currently about 75% cheaper, but the price has skyrocketed recently:
How to invest in Bitcoin Cash
If you want to invest in Bitcoin Cash, it is important to remember that Bitcoin Cash is a currency. This means that it does not behave like a stock or bond. Instead of buying shares of Bitcoin Cash, you exchange your currency for Bitcoin Cash currency.
For example, $1 USD is equivalent to about $4.329 in Bitcoin Cash today. The goal is for the value of Bitcoin Cash to increase, in which case you can exchange your coins back into dollars (from someone willing to do the exchange).
So, where can you do this? Unfortunately, you can't invest in Bitcoin Cash at your stock broker. Instead, you will need a digital wallet. The best digital wallet we've found for US residents is Coinbase. With Coinbase, you can buy and sell Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum, and Litecoin in their app.
Since Coinbase is also a digital wallet, you can also use your wallet to buy, sell, send, and receive Bitcoin Cash (e.g. use Bitcoin Cash to pay for goods or services online).
If you use THIS LINK, you will receive $10 in Bitcoins after you buy $100 in Bitcoins. You can then convert your Bitcoins and bonus into Bitcoin Cash if you wish.
Another option to invest in Bitcoin Cash is eToro, a full-service broker that also allows cryptocurrency investments.
Bitcoin Cash is one of the newest cryptocurrency options available to consumers. Although it is new, it is based on Bitcoin, one of the oldest. However, it has become popular because it is suddenly easily accessible - so keep that in mind. This is also the case with Ripple - it's not easily accessible, but if that changes, there could be an explosion in popularity.
If you're thinking about investing in Bitcoin Cash, remember that there is an incredibly high level of risk involved. The only way you'll "make money" is if the price goes up - which means other people will be willing to buy it from you. This is not an asset, but rather a gamble on the price.