Four months after its birth, Bitcoin Gold, one of the most interesting Bitcoin offshoot, is coming out with a roadmap for 2018. Let’s review its journey and promising future.The beginning of Bitcoin GoldThe year 2017 saw several hard forks, especially Bitcoin Cash during the summer and SegWit2x followed by Bitcoin Gold in the fall. All those forks are trying to create a better version of Bitcoin or, like Bitcoin Gold, trying to return to the original spirit of Bitcoin.However, though Bitcoin Cash and Bitcoin Gold have turned out to be successful forks, this is not the typical outcome; like SegWit2x, some are eliminated from the race due to errors.In the cryptocurrency environment, new coins arise almost every day and mostly with the unique purpose of just being another new coin around. Bitcoin Gold is different because it was meant to solve a real problem. Over time, the versions of Bitcoin have drifted away from the original vision. We went from an accessible mining for all crypto-enthusiasts in the world to a restrained professional club. Should Bitcoin still be considered a fully decentralized system when the network is, more and more every day, in the grip of the mining industry and some miners who have access to the largest part of hash power?All of that leads us far from Satoshi Nakamoto’s idealistic vision of “one CPU, one vote,” and it is precisely why Bitcoin Gold shines. By implementing the Equihash proof-of-work algorithm instead of SHA-256, Bitcoin Gold redistributes the hash power to more participants.Indeed, Equihash is ASIC (application-specific integrated circuits) resistant. Most proof-of-work algorithms, like SHA-256, are limited by computing power, which means that if you boost your computer, you boost the mining process. Only professionals can afford that.On the other hand, Equihash will allow miners the use of GPUs (graphics processing unit), which will have the effect of gathering more participants to mine and so taking away a part of the hash power from the hands of professionals who have massively monopolized the Bitcoin market.This is how Bitcoin Gold succeeded in decentralizing Bitcoin mining again, returning to Satoshi’s original vision.Progress of Bitcoin GoldSince its birth in October 2017, Bitcoin Gold has made visible progress. The team is communicative about its advancement. You can find plenty of information by going deep in their website blog section or checking out their Twitter. Equihash implementation As explained earlier, the Bitcoin Gold team chose Equihash instead of SHA-256. The main idea of the project was to create a real decentralized currency, as Satoshi’s original vision was. Before Bitcoin Gold, it required tremendous CPU power to mine bitcoins, instead of how it was at the beginning with any enthusiast able to mine on their own.Bitcoin Gold, by using Equihash, repaired that unfairness by allowing people to use GPU to mine rather than limiting the field to only professionals with a lot of capital. This brings mining closer to the original Bitcoin idea.Replay protection Every hard fork is an exact duplicate of the blockchain. For this reason, transactions could be displayed on both fork sides, except if a replay protection is implemented. To avoid this risk, Bitcoin Gold implemented a solution called SIGHASH_FORK_ID replay protection. It is a two-way protection mechanism that enforces a new algorithm to calculate the hash of a transaction so that all the new Bitcoin transactions will be invalid in Bitcoin Gold blockchain and vice versa.Unique address format The team chose not to use “1” and “3” address prefixes like Bitcoin. Instead of that, they decided to use “G” for P2PKH addresses and “d” for P2SH addresses. Indeed, because both sides of the cryptocurrency hard fork use the same address format, developers wanted to avoid regular mistakes.If they had kept the original format, users could, by confusion, send Bitcoin Gold to a Bitcoin address and vice versa. To avoid those kinds of accidents, they opted for the unique address format. Difficulty adjustment algorithmAs it is a different cryptocurrency from its source, Bitcoin Gold decided to adopt another difficulty adjustment algorithm, as they released in their 2017 roadmap.The team chose to adopt the DigiShield V3 difficulty adjustment algorithm, the algorithm that is already used in Zcash cryptocurrency. Nothing is wrong there, because it is based on an open-source technology. In short, DigiShield V3 looks at the time elapsed between the newest block and the median of a series of preceding blocks in order to adjust the difficulty to reach a ten-minute interval between blocks.Public Testnet Testnet is an alternative blockchain that allows developers and testers to experiment without risking real bitcoins or cryptocurrencies, using Testnet coins that don’t have any value. It is just a test platform. Bitcoin Gold has successfully passed all the following tests: Pool operators Wallet developersExchangesPro usersBitcoin Gold goes live Thanks to the enthusiast community behind it and many developers, Bitcoin Gold went live on 11/12/2017. Bitcoin Gold ecosystem growingExchanges: there are currently 55 Bitcoin Gold markets and 30 exchanges.Wallets: multiple wallets are available, and others are being developed. Cold wallets with Ledger and Trezor, several desktop wallets, various mobile wallets and several online wallets are among the safest.Pools: for miners who don’t like to solo mine, there are no worries. Bitcoin Gold has 15 active pools.Explorers: several independent blockchain explorers are available. The list includes: BitInfoCharts, BTGEXPLORER.COM, BTGEXPLORER.NET, BTGexp.com, Trezor’s Insight explorer, and Bitcoin Gold Blocks.Nodes: actually there are around 300 nodes worldwide. The five leading countries are: Germany, United States, France, Netherlands and Russia. Bitcoin Gold wallet v0.15.0.2 release Bitcoin Gold wallet’s new release has big improvements, in particular about security and UI (user interface).Introduction to ShapeShift ShapeShift is a Swiss company that provides a cryptocurrency transfer service without collecting the currency and does the transfer anonymously. It works via a web and mobile platform. Presently, Bitcoin Gold is available on ShapeShift platform. Release of 2018 roadmap The team released their roadmap for 2018 on January 15. BTG is on Exodus Exodus is a well-known, all-in-one application that holds your keys in a desktop wallet, allowing you to proceed with different operations such as stock, manage and exchange cryptocurrencies. Now Bitcoin Gold users could have access to it. Review of Bitcoin Gold 2018 roadmapSince its release, Bitcoin Gold has made great progress, and it seems that it will continue. Their roadmap is mostly focused on development and their community. Some major great news would be the integration of the Electrum wallet, which is one of the most popular, safe and user-friendly desktop wallets. It will make life easier for Bitcoin Gold users.Equally, as a very open-source project that works in close cooperation with its community, Bitcoin Gold will publish open-source libraries on several famous sharing code sharing platforms, such as BitCore, BitcoinJS, BitcoinJ, and CoPay, making work easier for developers. And they are upgrading protocol to implement Bench32 addresses. Using Bench32 will allow them to be on Lightning Network.By doing so, users could send Bitcoin Gold to other users at a very low fee rate, and in addition to that, they could use their coins with merchants who adopted Lightning Network.Again we can see there is an effort to make life easier for its community, users, and developers. All of that is really good news, and the Bitcoin Gold community can only get bigger and more engaged. And the community is not an aspect to neglect. A committed community makes a cryptocurrency stronger. Take BitConnect for instance. It was, in fact, a weak project and a Ponzi scheme. Thanks to its community, it survived well until last at last Chinese and Korean FUD (Fear Uncertainty Doubt) wiped it away. So, it is great that Bitcoin Gold is taking so many efforts for its community. It can only bring benefits to the project. But that’s not all. Bitcoin Gold intends to be a finished product by including ways for its users to interact with traditional merchants through a debit/credit card. In addition to being a great advertisement, someone using the card is a great way to bring more and more cryptocurrencies to an everyday life use. It would be an additional step for cryptocurrencies, with the intention of replacing FIAT money someday or at least to be a strong global democratized alternative. On top of all that, we can also see that Bitcoin Gold will actively increase its collaborations with universities and research centers. It would be a great way to educate people and also add credibility to the project. It makes it more trustworthy.And it’s always useful to win credibility points in an environment that is still very unclear for the masses and where some coins are scams. The more Bitcoin Gold can be perceived as a trustworthy cryptocurrency, the more people will adopt it and invest time and money in it. And lastly, as they said in their roadmap, the Bitcoin Gold network uses pseudonymous but is not anonymous. There is a subtle difference between those two concepts. Like Bitcoin, nobody can know who owns a wallet, but it’s possible to look at the history of it on the blockchain. The community is split between the partisans of anonymity and those who aren’t.As said in the roadmap, Bitcoin Gold’s plan on anonymity does not commit one way or the other, and it will be to the community who decides. However, will going one way or another have a real impact on Bitcoin Gold’s image? Also, if Bitcoin Gold goes with full anonymity, would it be perceived as a real concurrent to Monero, Zcash and other privacy coins?To summarize, Bitcoin Gold seems to have a promising future by putting emphasis on its development and community. University collaborations and research centers, conferences, etc. will increase its credibility and build interest and earn the public’s trust. All of that sounds like a good future for Bitcoin Gold.