Business 15 November 2018

Jasmine Solana

Bitcoin BCH protocol upgrade: Which groups offer ‘neutral’ choice?

At around 4:40 p.m. UTC on November 15, the Bitcoin Cash (BCH) network will undergo its scheduled protocol upgrade. Unlike last May, this upgrade involves two technical proposals—Bitcoin SV (Satoshi Vision) and Bitcoin ABC.

Bitcoin SV, a new full node implementation for Bitcoin BCH, is designed to specifically advance the Satoshi Vision of Bitcoin’s original protocol, with a plan for faster scaling to bigger blocks on BCH. Bitcoin SV will raise the maximum default block size from its current 32MB to 128MB—another step toward massive on-chain scaling—in addition to re-enabling of the original “Satoshi” set of op_codes, particularly OP_MUL, OP_LSHIFT, OP_RSHIFT, and OP_INVERT.

The goal of Bitcoin SV is to give BCH miners another choice—one that competes with other existing BCH implementations like Bitcoin ABC, which is pushing for a canonical transaction ordering rule (CTOR) that is not only risky to implement, but is also unproven in providing its claimed benefits.

The recent preview for the stress test scheduled for November 17 has already validated the growing hash support for Bitcoin SV, which is the first BCH implementation to cross over 50% estimated hash support since Coin Dance began reporting such data in advance of the November 15 protocol upgrade. As of press time, Bitcoin SV is already seeing a huge jump in estimated hash rate—about 72-75% compared with Bitcoin ABC’s 16-27%, according to data from Coin Dance.

It’s worth noting, however, that blockchain research and development firm nChain is not seeking a Bitcoin variant with Bitcoin SV, it’s simply providing another choice for BCH miners. Still, this hasn’t stopped groups from taking a side. Here at CoinGeek, we are highlighting the platforms that have opted for a neutral stance, offering their users the chance to put their money where they believe Bitcoin BCH is headed.

Poloniex leads the pack

Poloniex is one of the earliest exchanges to offer pre-fork trading for BCH mined with Bitcoin SV (BCHSV), as well as that using Bitcoin ABC (BCHABC) implementation.

In a statement, the Circle-owned exchange said, “We believe the responsible thing to do in this case is remain neutral and allow the community to decide which chain to support, and we want to empower the community to demonstrate their support through trading activity.

Following in the footsteps of Poloniex is Bitfinex, which assured users that it will complete a full account snapshot of Bitcoin Cash balances at 4:40 p.m. UTC. Deposits and withdrawals of BCH on the platform will be suspended effective 3:30 p.m. UTC.

“Bitfinex will not advocate for or against any particular fork, and miners have full prerogative to commit their hashing power to whichever projects they choose. At the time of writing, we do not believe that there is sufficient consensus to identify a clear winner in the Bitcoin Cash hard fork,” the exchange wrote in a blog post.

Crypto Facilities also suspended deposits and withdrawals of BCH as of 10 a.m. UTC “for an extended period of time to avoid any adverse impact of network instability on BCH deposits and transfers.”

The platform said BCH transfers will resume once Crypto Facilities has determined “…at our sole discretion, that network stability is satisfactory and a clear consensus has emerged for BCH. If you would like to control how you handle the upgrade, the best option is for you to withdrawal your BCH so you are in control of your private keys.”

In a bid “to protect customer funds,” Coins.ph, the crypto wallet service operating in the Philippines, will also suspend sending, receiving, and conversion functionality on the Coins.ph BCH Wallet two hours before the protocol upgrade. It will also halt all BCH trading on Coins Pro (BCH-PHP and BCH-BTC markets) and will cancel any open BCH-related orders. Service will be reinstated on the Coins.ph BCH Wallet and Coins Pro platforms once “the protocol upgrade is in a stable state.”

According to Coins.ph, “At the moment of the fork, the Coins team will save a record of customer BCH balances. In the event that the minority fork produces tokens that are deemed to have long-term viability, Coins.ph would consider whether or not it would be feasible to return these funds to customers, as we have done with certain forks in the past. The viability of any tokens resulting from minority BCH proposals during this fork will be assessed based on its broader industry support, hash power, and value.

Meanwhile, Asia-facing cryptocurrency exchange BitAsiaEx has opened trading pairs for BCHSV as well as BCHABC. Starting November 12, users of the platform can trade BCHSV or BCHABC against BTC, CNY, and BCH, or they can also convert 1 BCH to 1 BCH (SV) + 1 BCH (ABC) for trading.

HitBTC will also support pre-fork trading of BCHSV and BCHABC. On its website, the platform noted, “Starting from November 15, 15:00 UTC, an hour before the fork, all BCH deposits will be automatically converted to BCHABC + BCHSV in 1 to 1+1 ratio.” Withdrawals for BCH will be stopped at 15:30 UTC, followed by separate deposits enabled for BCHSV and BCHABC. Withdrawals for the two coins will be enabled after the network is stabilized.

Bittrex, meanwhile, assures its users that it “will take all reasonable steps to ensure that customer funds can be preserved on both chains.” The platform has already suspended withdrawals and deposits of Bitcoin BCH on November 14, and the wallet will remain closed “until the hard fork block is complete and it is deemed safe to open.”

Other platforms that have suspended deposits, withdrawals, and trading ahead of the BCH protocol upgrade include CoinBene, ZB.com, Bibox, Ledger, and Jaxx. On its website, Jaxx announced it will “support the chain that has the most hash power following the fork,” noting that “at this time, we do not plan to support any of the additional chains.”

Follow the Bitcoin Way

After the protocol upgrade, Bitcoin BCH with Bitcoin SV will finally come of age—no longer a dev experiment, but a mining-backed project. If you’re interested in seeing the true original power of Bitcoin, we recommend you to join the bComm Association and to also come to the CoinGeek Week conference from November 28-30 (with a special advance Miner’s Day on November 27), the perfect venue to meet the thought leaders and discuss the implications of the worlds first Bitcoin Hash War fought according to Nakamoto Consensus. Be part of the community that wants to let the original Bitcoin show the world its true power as sound money and so much more.

Note: Tokens on the Bitcoin Core (SegWit) chain are referenced as BTC coins; tokens on the Bitcoin Cash ABC chain are referenced as BCH, BCH-ABC or BAB coins.

Bitcoin Satoshi Vision (BSV) is today the only Bitcoin project that follows the original Satoshi Nakamoto whitepaper, and that follows the original Satoshi protocol and design. BSV is the only public blockchain that maintains the original vision for Bitcoin and will massively scale to become the world’s new money and enterprise blockchain.

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