Bitcoin plunges more than 20 percent on fears currency could split
Main page News, Cryptocurrency, Bitcoin
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20 March
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The price of Bitcoin plunged more than 20 percent during the weekend over fears the crypto-currency could split.

Bitcoin was trading at a high of $1,259 last week but by Sunday had slumped to $999. And that was a slight improvement on the $970 it was fetching on Saturday.

The fall has been put down to a stoush among Bitcoin developers over the rather technical question of the size limit of a "block", or group of transactions that are processed on the Bitcoin network.

The technology that underpins Bitcoin is called "blockchain" and acts as an account ledger on computers around the world.

As it stands only blocks of a maximum one-megabyte can be processed but there are calls from within the Bitcoin family to make them bigger as capacity on the network increases.

The disagreement about the future of Bitcoin has led to the emerge of two rival camps; One called Bitcoin Unlimited, which advocates unlimited block sizes and another faction, named Bitcoin Core, which wants to keep things as they currently are.

With a compromise appearing unlikely there are fears that the currency could split.

The pressure has ramped up a notch recently with Bitcoin Unlimited threatening to implement a "hard for" of Bitcoin software. That would mean the "unlimited" version of bitcoin would be incompatible with the "core" version and effectively create two separate currencies.

The "unlimited" camp received a boost on Friday when 20 Bitcoin exchanges released a combined statement saying they would begin trading a breakaway version of the currency if one emerged.

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