First of August, 2017 — the day of the fork is finally upon us. “Where were you when Bitcoin split?” your grandchildren may ask. Or more likely, they won’t. The BTC price currently stands around $2,870 USD, indicating the market at least doesn’t fear a disaster.
Let’s be clear: on 2nd August, Bitcoin (the technology) will still be Bitcoin. The same miners will mine using the same proof-of-work algorithm, implementing only changes approved by an overwhelming majority of hashing power. Users will keep spending, trading, and hodling BTC.
At the same time though, Bitcoin (the community) won’t be the same as before. There’s been an ideological schism concerning scaling solutions. Many members have vocally declared their side. Friendships have fractured. Even if they end up using the same coins, may find their prestige either enhanced or damaged as the economy shows its preference.
Network disruption will be minimal, but grab your popcorn anyway because the off-chain arguments are set to continue.
UASF Activates, and Kind of Succeeds
For the record, BIP 148 (also known as the “UASF”) activated today at Block 478484. Somewhat ironically, that block was mined by Antpool — the main mining pool of Bitmain, which supported a hard fork to prevent UASF splitting the blockchain.
BIP148 has been activated. /s https://t.co/DgZMdW6GNH
— Jihan Wu (@JihanWu) August 1, 2017
However that issue is now moot, since miners have “locked in” BIP 91, which will activate SegWit anyway.
After all the FUD, UASF turned out to be a non-event. 🎉
Now, we turn our attn towards Bcash, an altcoin trying to steal Bitcoin's brand. 😠
— Charlie Lee (@SatoshiLite) August 1, 2017
At the very least, the UASF and its hat-wearing supporters can take credit for bringing the scaling issue to a decisive head. Their efforts forced the community’s hand, leading to the “New York Agreement” and its compromise deal to activate SegWit and (later) 2MB blocks.
It also created what some consider a monster: “Bitcoin Cash”.
SegWit Finally Takes on Large Block Scaling Directly
Depending on your preferred side of the scaling schism, the hard fork to create Bitcoin Cash is either a non-event or a significant one. Bitcoin cash eschews SegWit altogether, and creates a version of Bitcoin with immediately larger transaction block sizes.
It is notable because it represents the first time SegWit Bitcoin and a “large block” version will exist as real, tradable entities — and compete directly for hashing and investment attention.
The Bitcoin Cash hard fork is set to activate at 12:20PM UTC. That’s 8:20AM EST, 10:20PM in Sydney, 9:20PM in Tokyo, 8:20PM in China, and 1:20PM in London. (Note that “UTC” is not simply “U.K. time” — Britain has daylight savings, so your friends in London are actually UTC +1.)
However, we strongly caution against getting too excited and trying to be first to send a Bitcoin Cash transaction.
As the project website notes, there’s a slight lag and the actual forking — the first block mined that’s incompatible with Bitcoin — will occur after the sixth block post-12:20PM UTC.
After the Bitcoin Fork, Decisions Remain
Even then, best advice is to not attempt any transactions at all, BTC or otherwise. Hopefully, you can watch the price rise as you wait.
After that, it will be interesting to see what happens to Bitcoin Cash (BCC or BCH), which even its fans admit will likely have minority support. Will it die instantly? Will the price pump? What will whale-scale holders do with their stash?
As investor Simon Dixon pointed out, the FBI may now own a substantial amount of BTC from the BTC-e customer wallets it seized. While the fate of the BTC funds is interesting enough, what happens if there’s suddenly a valuable amount of Bitcoin Cash?
— Simon Dixon (Beware Impersonators) (@SimonDixonTwitt) August 1, 2017
As a news outlet, Bitsonline looks forward to the coming days. Stay tuned for all the latest updates.
What will happen to Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash? Please share your thoughts below.
Images via BitcoinCash.org, Pixabay