WTF Is Bitcoin Cash And Is It Worth Anything?
The way a fork works is instead of creating a totally new cryptocurrency (and blockchain) starting at block 0, a fork just creates a duplicate version that shares the same history. So all past transactions on bitcoin cash’s new blockchain are identical to bitcoin core’s blockchain, with future transactions and balances being totally independent from each other.
For practical matters, all this really means is that everyone who owned bitcoin before the fork now has an identical amount of bitcoin cash that is recorded in bitcoin cash’s forked blockchain.
But it’s not exactly this easy. If you control your own private keys, or hold your bitcoin in an exchange that said it would credit users’ balances with bitcoin cash, you’re fine and can access your newfound cryptocurrency right now.
If you held your bitcoin with a provider like Coinbase, which said before the fork they aren’t planning on distributing bitcoin cash to users or even interacting with the new blockchain at all, then you may be out of luck.
To be clear — this doesn’t mean companies like Coinbase and Gemini are taking your bitcoin cash for themselves. It’s just that they think it’s a distraction and not really going to be worth anything in the long run. If this proves to be false and the coins hold value, these companies will most likely end up distributing them to users.