Bitcoin is forking. In a few hours there will be two currencies. Bitcoin Core, which is to retain the bitcoin name and BTC ticker – at least for now – and Bitcoin Cash under the ticker of BCC on most exchanges. Except for Kraken, which has decided to do its own thing and call it BCH, rather than BCC or XBC.
The fork will happen at exactly 12:20 UTC. That translates to midday in London, early morning in New York, just about dawn in LA, and late evening in China.
So much of the world will be awake and see the hardfork chain-split in action at the fork monitor. Once a block is created on the Bitcoin Cash chain, the split will happen.
At that point, the BitcoinABC nodes – currently around 250 – some of the 800 Bitcoin Unlimited nodes, the Bitcoin Classic nodes and the XT nodes will fork off from the Bitcoin Core nodes and the segwit2x btc1 nodes, so creating their own network.
From then on, the two networks operate independently with anyone that had bitcoin up to that point getting an equal amount of Bitcoin Core and BCC, but thereafter the two operate like any other digital currency.
With one difference. They would have the same Proof of Work (PoW) algorithm. So bitcoin miners can freely move between the two or share the hashrate dependent on price.
That may cause some problems for BTC as it may loose hashrate which may slow the network down until the two weeks or so difficulty re-adjustment. Dependent on how many miners do leave to BCC, the bitcoin chain may become significantly congested.
Most businesses will stop deposits and withdrawals shortly, while some may have done so already by the time of publishing. Any on-chain transactions are best avoided until the second or third of August or wait for a very high number of confirmations.
Because at this point much of everything should be on standby or begin moving towards a standstill just to be extra safe during the hardfork process.
Which means if you are on Coinbase you might be out of luck as they are experiencing significant delays. However, despite statements they’ve made, they will probably have to give everyone their Bitcoin Cash unless they wish the matter to go to trial as lawsuits seem very likely.
Some exchanges, like OKex, will list BCC for trading immediately after the fork. ViaBTC already offers futures for it and will probably quickly list it too. Kraken might be quick as well, but it remains to be seen.
Trading is expected to go through a very volatile period for both BTC and BCC as speculators exchange one for the other. For long term holders it shouldn’t matter as they hold both coins. While traders will have to constantly observe movements and might wisely use lower level margins or none at all.
Eventually price should settle, but the reality of a split might start sinking in, with the two projects free to follow their own direction, focusing on their own aims, and hopefully maybe even returning a collaborative and positive spirit in the bitcoin space.