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Bitcoin Cash hard fork: update

While it is still possible the warring Bitcoin Cash factions will reach a truce before zero-hour, it seems all but certain that a BCH hard fork resulting in two separate chains will occur on November 15th. Here’s what you need to know

In terms of naming protocols Bitcoin Cash ‘ABC’ (BCHABC) will be the continuation of the original Bitcoin Cash chain & vision and appears to have the support of most of the BCH community as well the original developers. Bitcoin Cash SV is the alternative chain and is endorsed by Craig Wright.

As a response to the ABC proposal, the SV or ‘Satoshi Vision’ chain will use the original specifications outlined by Satoshi Nakamoto in the Bitcoin whitepaper. The only difference to these specifications would be a much larger block size. Published by nChain, the Satoshi Vision proposal suggests a 128MB block size for the network.

Interestingly, significant mining support for both chains is guaranteed (at the outset at least) with the BCHSV chain supported by mining giant Coingeek — although Coingeeks’ Calvin Ayre has been reported as saying that he would support BCHABC if it wins the hashrate war.

Similarly, BCHABC will be backed by mining giant Bitmain. Given that Bitmain has recently filed for an Initial Public Offering in Hong Kong and is reported to be a major holder of BCH, the company has a lot riding on BCHABC emerging triumphant after the fork.

Exchange responses

Poloniex and HitBtc have been quick out of the blocks with customers already able to trade pre-fork BCHABC and BCHSV. The pre-fork market works in a similar way to the futures market where orders can be settled before the 15th, without traders having to deal with the physical delivery of either forked coin.

Users can convert existing held Bitcoin Cash (BCH) into their chosen post fork token which will then be converted once the chain splits on the 15th. On Poloniex, BCHABC and BCHSV can be purchased with BTC or USDC.

Current prices provide a good indication of the market’s perspectives on the future of the respective forks with BCHABC trading at ~$396 on the USDC markets while BCHSV trades at ~$114.

It appears exchanges will suspend BCH sends and receives about two hours before the fork which is expected at GMT: Thursday, November 15, 2018 4:40:00 PM (Unix timestamp: 1542300000) and will then evaluate both chains before restarting.

Coinbase Pro — although Coinbase has said it will support Bitcoin ABC , it has also made it clear it doesn’t anticipate the new fork will survive, stating "In the unlikely event that multiple viable chains persist after the fork, Coinbase will ensure that customers have access to their funds on each chain."

Binance — says it will support the fork but provides no clarity as to if there will be a second token allocated. It appears unlikely that Bitcoin SV will be allocated to Binance users. Bitcoin Cash will remain listed as BCH/BCC on the exchange.

**Kraken **— has announced support for the ABC upgrade while leaving the door slightly open Bitcoin SV stating ”_Initially _Kraken will only support Bitcoin ABC, which follows the Bitcoin Cash upgrade roadmap published by bitcoincash.org.”

**Bittrex **— has acknowledged the contentious nature of the Bitcoin SV fork, but has committed to supporting both chains, stating "If you have a Bitcoin Cash (BCH) balance on Bittrex during the BCH on-exchange snapshot around November 15, 2018 at 8:40am PT (4:40pm UTC), you will be additionally credited the equivalent amount of BSV chain split tokens on a 1:1 basis."

**Huobi **— will support the fork but has made no announcement regarding supporting Bitcoin SV.

Futures markets

**Bitmex **— current BCH futures markets will be settled in Bitcoin ABC price, as per the token’s position belonging to the original chain, there will be no settlement or contracts in Bitcoin SV price. At least initially, only BCHABC/XBT will be added to markets post fork, with a base price being an index of Poloniex, Kraken and Binance BCHABC prices.

Okex futures: Very similar approach to Bitmex, in that current BCH contracts will be settled based on BCHABC prices and post-fork BCHABC prices will be quoted initially.

What might a hard fork mean for Bitcoin Cash?

Given the level of vitriol between the two camps, it is unlikely they will resolve their differences and unite before Nov 15 — in which case the split may very well be the crypto equivalent of the ‘nuclear option’ for one side.

While Bitcoin Cash is currently the 4th largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization, it has been facing trouble with merchant adoption rates slowing as its value continues to struggle. A hard fork would be yet another spanner in the works — especially if one of the two camps neglect the other camp’s chain entirely.

After the fork there will also be the task of separating the identities of the two altcoins in the mind of the public. The confusion may affect the value of both currencies and for the newer offshoot, differentiating itself in the ever-growing altcoin sector is likely to be a difficult undertaking.


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