Roger Ver, who owns the news and info website Bitcoin.com, has made it no secret that he now prefers Bitcoin Cash over the original Bitcoin. Bitcoin.com also develops its own wallet app, and over the last couple days there has been a lot of criticism directed at the latest version, which now supports Bitcoin Cash- and lists it above Bitcoin, as if to suggest that the Cash version is better, or to put it on equal footing with the original.
I hadn’t used the Bitcoin.com wallet before reading about the current B-Cash fiasco, but this situation sounded like it could turn pretty serious considering who was behind the wallet- so I decided to download it myself and do sort of an op-ed / feature type post. I’m glad I did, because the way this was executed, it seems like it could lead to a lot of confusion and frustration for beginners who are just getting into Bitcoin.
After going to the Google Play store, I found the wallet in question very easily. As soon as I typed the word “Bitcoin” into the search field, a promoted ad result showed up at the very top. That, combined with the fact that the website that this wallet is from is called Bitcoin.com, is what makes me question the execution of their Bitcoin Cash integration.
As the screenshot at the top of this post shows, when you get the Bitcoin.com wallet installed and go into it the first thing you see is a wallet for Bitcoin Cash. There is a wallet for regular Bitcoin right below that, and the people who have been following the Bitcoin scene for a while and are aware that there is now a virtual kitchen drawer full of “forks” that have been spun off of the original will know what to do once they’re inside- but for newcomers who are looking to dip a toe in the Bitcoin waters for the first time, this could be very confusing and may even feel like a misleading or fraudulent experience- especially considering that the website that develops the wallet is called Bitcoin.com. New users who aren’t aware that the site was started by someone outside of the original Bitcoin development team could mistakenly think of it as the official website of Bitcoin, and end up with a negative opinion about the whole project.
This potential for confusion and frustration is greatly magnified by the fact that none of the descriptions or introductory material about the wallet mention Bitcoin Cash- Everything is focused on Bitcoin and how Bitcoin works, and what makes Bitcoin revolutionary. Inside the wallet, there is an area where you can check the current price of Bitcoin, but no equivalent area with the price of Bitcoin Cash. That in particular was a really big oversight. There is nothing anywhere in any introductory material that explains to users that Bitcoin Cash is a totally separate digital currency from Bitcoin- and that will lead to a lot of user errors, such as attempts to send Bitcoin Cash to regular Bitcoin addresses and vice versa. Some users may also wonder why the Bitcoin in their cash wallet isn’t worth as much as the rest of their stash, or the coins in another wallet belonging to them or someone they know.
In summary, the execution on this wallet was awful- especially from a beginner’s perspective. The whole experience feels misleading. Experienced Bitcoiners who know what they’re getting into will be fine with it, but it shouldn’t be recommended to new users.