The fork between Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash took place on August 1, 2017 at block 478 559. By increasing the block size limit to 8 MB, the implementation of Bitcoin Cash caused a hard fork of the Bitcoin blockchain, that is to say a duplication of the chain into two distinct chains: one is following the old rules (BTC) and the other one adopted the new rules (BCH).
This fork bears the somewhat abstruse name of "User Activated Hard Fork" (UAHF) in reference to the "User Activated Soft Fork" (UASF) which wanted to push the Bitcoin network to adopt SegWit in the same period. It was programmed by the Bitcoin ABC software implementation developed by Amaury Sechet, ABC being the acronym for Adjustable Blocksize Cap, that is to say "adjustable block size limit". This client has become the benchmark implementation of the Bitcoin Cash protocol, as is Bitcoin Core for Bitcoin.
The two resulting chains, Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash, therefore share the same history before August 1. Bitcoin Cash has implemented replay protection which makes transactions incompatible from one chain to another and thus prevents malicious actors from replaying them to seize the funds of others.
In summary, if you had 0.5 BTC stored on Coinbase for example during the fork, then you must have received 0.5 BCH.
However, This fork remains controversial for several reasons:
Increasing the size of the blocks increases the size of the blockchain. Thus, we need nodes that are more efficient.
The Bitcoin Cash fork took place against the will of the majority of the Bitcoin community members. It is a disadvantage, and many people do not accept this currency and consider it illegitimate.
The main supporters of this fork (Bitmain, Roger Ver ...) are seen by some as manipulators who have sought to serve their personal interests.
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