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Bitcoin Gold(BTG) is a fork of the Bitcoin protocol that executed in October 2017 and primarily originated out of a desire to change Bitcoins mining algorithm from SHA-256 to Equihash — consequently making ASIC mining rigs obsolete in the network.

Focused on a different design consideration than another of Bitcoins prominent debates — block size — the role of ASICs in cryptocurrency mining of proof-of-work (PoW) networks has been polarizing, and arguments on both sides are plausible. On one side, ASIC mining can lead to a centralized mining economy in the hands of firms that can operate with economies of scale since ASIC hardware costs are at a premium.

Conversely, the position taken by Bitcoin Gold and other ASIC-resistant cryptocurrencies is that by changing the mining algorithm to one that precludes ASIC machines from the network, access to mining can be democratized to any user with a GPU consumer computer.

Similar to the Bitcoin Cash hard fork, once the Bitcoin Gold fork was initiated, Bitcoin holders were able to redeem BTG at a 1:1 ratio corresponding to their BTC holdings.

Outside of the mining algorithm shift, Bitcoin Gold retains some of the same technical aspects of Bitcoin including the 21 million supply cap, SegWit, and block times. Bitcoin Golds Githubcitesthe primary differences of the network from Bitcoin at the time of launch as:

Bitcoin Gold was bootstrapped on November 12 following its launch to create its own network. However, it still contains the entire Bitcoin blockchain up to that point.

Problems developed for Bitcoin Gold out of the gate. Bitcoin Golds website underwent a DDoS attack following its launch aftercriticismof its pre-mine of the BTG, which equaled 1 percent of the supply and was allocated to the development team.

Similarly, criticisms of the project centered on how rapidly it was put together, particularly from Coinbase, whocitedthe lack of an open-source protocol as the reason they refused to list the cryptocurrency. Despite Coinbases refusal, Bitcoin Gold gradually gained support on numerous of the largest exchanges following its launch and is now supported by more than 75 exchanges and 18 independent wallets.

Bitcoin Gold experienced adouble-spend attackon May 18, 2018 that resulted in approximately $18 million in stolen funds.

Among Bitcoin Golds more notable developments are its BTGPay network for connecting consumers, merchants, and other services using BTG.

BTGPay is a marketplace for consumers and merchants to connect, along with e-commerce services that integrate payment gateways using BTG. Transaction fees using BTGPay are only 1 cent (USD), and several merchants are currently in Beta testing of the system. Payments detected using BTGPay are automatically converted to USD on behalf of the merchant.

Current BTGPay e-commerce integrations, including WooCommerce, Magneto, and OpenCart.

Bitcoin Golds roadmap has some notable similarities to Bitcoin, including the inclusion of the Lightning Network (LN). Bitcoin Golds implementation of the LN is still in progress, however. Bitcoin Gold is also planning on implementing Schnorr Signatures — currently undergoing review for Bitcoin — as well as a Plasma mainchain and sidechain protocol integration down the line.

The Bitcoin Gold team also recently completed their port of the Bitcoin Electrum wallet, calling theirs ElectrumG, with features such as Segwit support and HW wallets. Bitcoin Gold is one of four major active forks of the Bitcoin core protocol — along with Bitcoin Cash, Bitcoin SV, and Bitcoin Diamond.