In Brief

The bitcoin wars have begun, as Bitcoin XT squares off against the classic flavor of the cryptocurrency

Cryptocurrency bitcoin is facing civil war, with two high-profile developers announcing plans to split the code that underpins the network.

Known as a “fork,” the new version of bitcoin (dubbed Bitcoin XT) would support more transactions per hour, at the cost of increasing the amount of memory required to hold a full database of all the bitcoin transactions throughout history, known as the blockchain.

It is backed by Mike Hearn and Gavin Andresen, two of the most senior developers involved in the bitcoin project. Both are involved in the Bitcoin Foundation, the non-profit group that oversees the currency’s development: Hearn is the former chair of the foundation’s law and policy committee, while Andresen is the chief scientist of the foundation.

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