This past January the Bitcoin Cash (BCH) developers and community began implementing a new address format called ‘Cashaddr.’ The new protocol serialization makes BCH addresses distinct from other cryptocurrency formats in order to reduce user error, and the change also bolsters some future network functionalities as well. Over the past two weeks, many BCH supporting businesses and service providers have upgraded to the new format.
Lots of BCH Infrastructure Providers Implement the New Cashaddr Address Format
Just recently the bitcoin cash development team and the community changed the cryptocurrency’s address format to a new version. The integration makes it much harder for users to send BCH to a bitcoin core (BTC) address or vice versa. Basically addresses look different and some contain the prefix “bitcoincash:” when displayed.
Every Cashaddr address is also tethered to a “legacy address”, and the change doesn’t affect the users private and public keys. So far lots of bitcoin cash supporting exchanges and wallet providers have upgraded to the new format over the past two weeks.
Services That Support Cashaddr
Currently, the service providers and wallets who have integrated the Cashaddr format include Blockchain Wallet, Coinbase, Electron Cash, Bitcoin.com, Explorer.bitcoin.com, Bitpay, Copay, Coinomi, Hitbtc, Chaintip, Stash Wallet, BTC.com Wallet, Bitcoin ABC, Bitcoin Unlimited, Blockchair, and Blockdozer. Other wallets like the iOS client Unit have detailed that their development teams plan to implement the address change in the near future. Some companies like Shapeshift are expected to integrate Cashaddr, but the firm has made no statements of this intention. Shapeshift’s hardware wallet business Keepkey has stated Cashaddr functionality will be provided in the future.
Cashaddr and Legacy Format Compatibility
Alongside this, there are also wallets that allow you to toggle between both Cashaddr and legacy addresses within the wallet interface. If a user does find some compatibility issues with a wallet that does not support the Cashaddr format, there is a tool that can convert a BCH Cashaddr address to the Legacy format and vice versa. The website Bitcoincash.org has this tool available for users who run into wallet compatibility issues. Another converter tool is also available in the Electron Cash 3.1 client.
“Any legacy bitcoin address format will convert to one and only one Cashaddr format, and the same is true in reverse. So there will always be two versions (legacy and Cashaddr) of any given address, and they are interchangeable because they correspond to the same set of private and public keys,” explains the Bitcoin ABC development team regarding the Cashaddr addresses relationship with the legacy format.
The address format is just an encoding — To use an analogy, think of the encoding as just a wrapper, or “clothing — Consider the fact that you can always talk to your friends, regardless of what clothes either of you happen to be wearing. In this analogy, what’s underneath the clothes is the raw public key hash (pubkeyHash). You can convert from the old format to the new format, or from the old format to the format and there are several converter tools available.
Some Providers Show No Intention to Upgrade
At the moment there are a few wallets who have no immediate intentions to support the Cashaddr format. On January 17 the wallet provider Jaxx said they have “no plans to integrate Cashaddr at the moment.” The hardware wallet provider Ledger stated a while back the company does not plan to support the change. “It’d be significantly easier for everybody to just update the P2PKH and P2SH versions while keeping the same address format, or reuse Bech32, so wallet developers don’t have to support two different but almost similar schemes,” explains Ledger’s chief technical officer (CTO). According to the CTO of the hardware wallet company Satoshi Labs his development team doesn’t plan to upgrade the Trezor software to the new format anytime soon.
There’s plenty of work around for people who have issues with compatibility between wallet interfaces. However, a great majority of the bitcoin cash ecosystem has upgraded, and other BCH supporting companies plan to do so in the near future.