Due to the fact that the legacy chain (BTC) and Bitcoin Cash (BCH) share a common address format to date, it has caused confusion and resulted in some users losing their money after sending BTC to a BCH address, and vice versa. In an effort to put an end to this problem, Bitcoin ABC’s lead developer Amaury Séchet is proposing a new address format for BCH, one that will make it incompatible with the BTC chain. This is reported by The Bitcoin News.
Using a new format will prevent users from mistakenly sending money on the wrong chain. It also accept payloads up to 512 bits which ensures we can deploy more secure way of doing multiparty smart contract in the future. Finally, it uses a version field ensuring we can encode new features in these addresses in the future without having to use a new format.
Lead developer, Bitcoin ABC
Thus, the new address format, called cashaddr, not only helps end the confusion. It also prepares the Bitcoin Cash system for further upgrades in the future, including multiparty smart contract.
The upgrade can be implemented easily and does not need a hard fork. Séchet is planing implementatio for January 14 —which is perfect as it avoids the Christmas holiday season, when transactions may be at its peak, while also being ahead of another holiday season, the Chinese new year which falls in February.