There’s now one week left before 1st August — the date that was supposed to be a day of reckoning for Bitcoin. Is there still any reason to fear it? Signs say probably not, but as always it’s best to be prepared.
Also read: Did Someone Try to Kill John McAfee?
What Happens on 1st August and Why?
Going over some background: 1st August was the day a number of conflicting visions for Bitcoin were set to swing into action.
If the network doesn’t signal support for segregated witness (SegWit) transactions by then, the user-activated soft fork (UASF or BIP 148) kicks in. That has the potential to split the blockchain, by rejecting non-SegWit blocks.
That would only be the start of it. If the UASF looks like it’s gaining significant support, or a split looks likely, the user-activated hard fork (UAHF) would occur, in order to stop it. It would immediately increase the block size, to 2MB and then 8MB. UAHF has the backing of Bitmain and other powerful mining pools, so it means business.
But All That Probably Doesn’t Matter… Probably
Over the past 24 hours, though, 100 percent of miners have signaled support for BIP 91. That’s designed to usher in the compromise solution, SegWit2x. Although several nodes are still signaling for UASF/BIP 148, it looks fairly unlikely to have any impact.
And no UASF means no UAHF, right? We can all relax, Bitcoin’s fine and users don’t have to do anything. Even the price seems to agree, settling around $2,700 USD with little volatility over the past day.
If there were any uncertainty at all, it would likely start falling as investors pulled their BTC off exchanges or parked it in fiat.
Could ‘Bitcoin Cash’ Still Throw a Wrench in the Machine?
But wait — there’s always a dark horse. In this case it’s “Bitcoin Cash“, the campaign to activate a big-block hard fork regardless of what happens.
Remember though, anyone can hard fork Bitcoin at any time. What matters is if anyone else actually supports it. Whether Bitcoin Cash (BCC) will attract any serious hashing or economic power depends on who you talk to.
The industry figures Bitsonline spoke to in the past few days doubt BCC will go anywhere. Chinese miners are more economically rational than ideological, they said, and will likely mine on the dominant blockchain whatever it is. Some even called the Bitcoin Cash idea “stupid”.
But What About That $500 BCC?
China’s ViaBTC got some attention for listing a Bitcoin Cash (BCC) token on its exchange, which is still currently worth over $500 USD. However, the company is taking a big risk to support Bitcoin Cash — both in mining revenues and reputation.
No other exchanges have listed BCC yet, although OKEX says it’s “coming”. Any miners mining Bitcoin Cash are not mining Bitcoin, so if BCC plunges in value, both holders and the company will take a hit. ViaBTC has reportedly also received criticism from other members of the Chinese community for supporting the hypothetical coin.
Prominent Chinese Bitcoin investor and commentator Chandler Guo put it bluntly:
— Chandler Guo (@ChandlerGuo) July 23, 2017
Don’t Worry Then, Unless You Want To
In conclusion, with one week left it looks like everything will chug along as normal for Bitcoin on 1st August — at least on the front end.
However if you’re personally a Bitcoin Cash believer, or want to take a chance on it. After all you’d get the new coin for free, so as a holder there’s nothing to risk and nothing to lose.
If that’s you, or if you’d just like to play it safe, be sure to move your BTC to a wallet where you control the private keys. See our guide for more details, but that means using something like Jaxx, Mycelium or Blockchain over “custodial” wallets like Coinbase or Xapo.
In the latter case, those companies will decide whether you get those free BCC tokens or not. Note that Coinbase and GDAX, the most popular exchanges and wallets in the U.S., have stated they will not support any forked coin and advised users to withdraw if they wish to hold it.
So as a user, it’s your call. In the end, that’s the beauty of Bitcoin, isn’t it? You choose which currency to hold… and accept personal responsibility for your finances.
What are you doing with your coins? Let’s hear your thoughts.
Images via Jon Southurst, Luis Buenaventura, Pixabay, Jaxx, Bitcoin Cash, XBT.eu