Bitcoin Cash is a hard fork of Bitcoin with a protocol upgrade to fix on-chain capacity. Bitcoin Cash intends to be a Bitcoin without Segregated Witness (SegWit) as soft fork, where upgrades of the protocol are done mainly through hard forks and without changing the original economic rules of the Bitcoin. Bitcoin Cash (BCH) is released on 1st August 2017 as an upgraded version of the original Bitcoin Core software. The main upgrade is the increase in the block size limit from 1MB to 8MB. This effectively allows miners on the BCH chain to process up to 8 times more payments per second in comparison to Bitcoin. This makes for faster, cheaper transactions and a much smoother user experience. Why was Bitcoin Cash Created? The main objective of Bitcoin Cash is to to bring back the essential qualities of money inherent in the original Bitcoin software. Over the years, these qualities were filtered out of Bitcoin Core and progress was stifled by various people, organizations, and companies involved in Bitcoin protocol development. The result is that Bitcoin Core is currently unusable as money due to increasingly high fees per transactions and transfer times taking hours to complete. This is all because of the 1MB limitation of Bitcoin Core’s block size, causing it unable to accommodate to large number of transactions. Essentially Bitcoin Cash is a community-activated upgrade (otherwise known as a hard fork) of Bitcoin that increased the block size to 8MB, solving the scaling issues that plague Bitcoin Core today. Nov 16th 2018: A hashwar resulted in a split between Bitcoin SV and Bitcoin ABC
Counterparty is a platform for user-created assets on Bitcoin. It’s a protocol, set of specifications, and an API. Taken together, it allows users to create and trade assets on top of Bitcoin’s blockchain. In this way, Counterparty is similar to platforms like Waves or Ethereum. Of course, the difference is Counterparty integrates directly with Bitcoin. Therefore, it comes will all the security and reliability (and issues) that are part of the Bitcoin blockchain. This is a fairly old project. In fact, it pre-dates Ethereum with its launch in 2014. It was the original asset creation mechanism. As you’re probably aware, Counterparty has faded from prominence over the years. This is largely due to the rise of the ERC-20 token standard on Ethereum. While we’ve become used to calling blockchain assets, tokens, it doesn’t necessarily have to be the case. An asset can represent anything that has value or is rare. As a result, Counterparty steers clear of the word “token” in their marketing and documentation. They’re much more interested in digital assets of all kinds, not just currencies, securities, and utility tokens. Digital assets can be a digital marker of a physical object, an easy way to manage shares in your company, or reputation karma for a website. These are all types of assets you could create on Counterparty (or Ethereum or Waves, for that matter). Counterparty creates the set of rules, requirements, integrations, etc that are necessary for assets on the Bitcoin blockchain. It’s the infrastructure behind user-created assets in much the same way that the ERC-20 protocol sets up guidelines and standards for asset creation on Ethereum. One useful function of digital assets is as a marker of ownership or voting rights. Imagine a scenario where you issued a digital asset to each of your company’s board members in proportion to the amount of voting power held. Or if you gave your stockholders a digital asset as a marker of the amount of stock they owned. If you issued your stock asset, you could then use Counterparty’s distribution function to pay out dividends in BTC based on the amount of digital stock asset each person owned. Counterparty addresses many of the same issues as Ethereum or Waves, but on the Bitcoin blockchain. While that does come with some advantages, ultimately it is not as strong a platform for development as its competitors. It’s best suited for applications that need to interface with Bitcoin or assets that have a specific connection to the Bitcoin ecosystem.