The rapid increase in demand for Bitcoin in 2017 led to a decrease in processing speed and a significant increase in transaction fees. Sensing that a crisis was on the horizon, a community was formed with the intent of developing Bitcoin Cash.
A hard fork usually refers to an update to the validation rules for a blockchain protocol. If there is a sufficient amount of dissent from developers, the community may split off into separate currencies.
*We refer to the Bitcoin Cash Node (BCHN) chain as Bitcoin Cash (BCH).