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Is Bitcoin Cash decentralised?


Bitcoin Cash is decentralised, meaning it is a system with no one in charge or able to force action from anyone else. If this is unintuitive, consider it like the Internet itself - no one is "in charge" of the Internet, no one "owns" the Internet & no web page is the "center" of the Internet. There is no "official Internet office building" or customer support line. The Internet is an open system maintained by a wide variety of loosely coordinated amateur & professional individuals & groups in an organic (and sometimes messy) way. BCH is the exact same.

It's also worth noting that decentralisation is not a binary, it's a multi-pointed spectrum with many independent factors, but for the purposes of having sufficient technical redundancy, censorship resistance & resilience to attack - Bitcoin Cash is decentralised.

Why decentralisation matters

Although often thrown around as a buzzword in cryptocurrency conversation and/or held up as a supreme ideal, very few people understand why decentralisation is important. The reason to have decentralisation is to ensure that no central party can block anyone else from transacting & nor is an attack to shut down the coin viable (it has too much redundancy & antifragility in its ecosystem). It's important to remember that decentralisation is a method to achieve those ends & not an end in itself.

People who don't understand the reasons for decentralisation can become trapped in a belief that more decentralisation is always better and/or myopically focussed on one contributing element - no matter the costs or tradeoffs. This is particularly common with BTC supporters that believe redundancy of nodes is the key metric of decentralisation. They will therefore happily tradeoff the coin's usability, economic sustainability, transaction efficiency & more in an endless misguided pursuit of "decentralisation" for its own sake.

Fake decentralisation

Many cryptocurrencies claim to be "decentralised" (like BCH or the Internet), but the reality is often very different. Power is frequently concentrated on any/all of an "official" foundation, organising body, founder, developer team, media promulgation channel, insider group or other central or network-critical entity of some kind.

Bitcoin Cash has no such thing. BCH was founded by Satoshi Nakamoto, who remained entirely anonymous, vanished in 2011 & never profited by selling his coins. The project has:

  • No official or "recognised" spokesperson
  • No "central" website
  • No verified Twitter account
  • No central foundation or controlling body (see important note about The Bitcoin Cash Foundation)
  • No premine-receiving venture capital investors
  • No "official" or "main" code repository, development team or "endorsed" node implementation or wallet. Note that Bitcoin Cash is the only cryptocurrency in existence where an influential development team has been forcibly ejected from the project into a minority chain split (eCash aka "XEC") by organic dispute from the community. BCH is also one of only two communities to have replaced prominent developers by splitting to a community-demanded alternative but regrettably lost the battle for the branding afterwards (the other is ETC - Ethereum Classic).
  • No roadmap
  • No central/official anything

Any coin with any of these aspects is to some degree centralised.

Assessing decentralisation

Decentralisation is not an easy thing to measure. There is no 1 authoritative number that describes how decentralised a coin is or any way to create a reliable "index" or ranking of cryptocurrencies on this metric. It is beholden on individuals to investigate various projects & make their own judgement about what constitutes a "decentralised project".

Node count



BCH shares the SHA256 mining algorithm & thus entire Bitcoin mining industry with BTC. Individual miners allocate their hashrate between the chains according to their preference & the constantly shifting price ratio between the coins. From one point of view, this means that BTC & BCH are equally decentralised with regards to mining (it's the same infrastructure & people involved in both), although it is a fair argument to say that with minority hashrate BCH may be arguably less decentralised (an attack would be easier, although not easy). See Is low hashrate a problem? for more about this.

Note that direct comparisons of "how decentralised by mining" with other Proof of Work coins (such as Litecoin, which uses the Scrypt algorithm instead of SHA256) are difficult. Detailed & regularly updated information on the production & development of new chips for each algorithm is hard to come by & it's impossible to accurately track the distribution & total of available existing mining hardware for each coin (which could be conceivably plugged in any time).

Note also that assessing decentralisation for coins which operate by Proof of Stake (such as Ethereum) or other consensus mechanisms will also introduce an entirely new set of considerations.

Politics & Governance


Bitcoin Cash does not have a roadmap, and any cryptocurrency which has any kind of "official" roadmap is centralised (for only a central party could have the authority to decide what is and isn't included on a roadmap in the first place). Bitcoin Cash has no such central party. If anyone did create a roadmap, its authority would be limited to the willingness of other individuals within the ecosystem to voluntarily adhere to it.

Instead, the CHIP process, helps to co-ordinate network upgrades in the upcoming yearly cycle.

Every part of the Bitcoin Cash ecosystem - from miners to nodes to developers to businesses to consumers - operates 100% voluntarily. Nobody can force anyone else to do or not do anything. This operates in complete contrast to fiat currency systems, which persist by enslaving populations through involuntary taxation enforced at gunpoint.

There is nothing preventing individual community members from trying to aggregate or clarify the state of BCH development in their own non-authoritative roadmap, as per The Bitcoin Cash Podcast Roadmap. However such efforts seem to stagnate because they are high effort to maintain and produce little value. This isn't a problem, just an organic discovery of the best process for Bitcoin Cash to develop.

See also: Should (or will) Bitcoin Cash rebrand?

See also: Why Bitcoin Cash instead of another cryptocurrency?