How to Survive Bitcoin Gold and SegWit2x Forks
It looks as if Bitcoin will experience at least two more “coin-splits” soon, which (more accurately) will result in the creation of new coins. On October 25, Bitcoin Gold (Bgold) will split off from Bitcoin to create an ASIC-resistant cryptocurrency. A few weeks later, a significant group of Bitcoin companies wants to hard fork according to the SegWit2x plan as defined in the “New York Agreement” (NYA), which will probably result in yet another new coin.
If this all plays out, there could be three distinct blockchains and three types of coins within about a month of publication of this article. One blockchain would follow the current Bitcoin protocol; for the purpose of this article, that coin will be referred to as “BTC.” The second blockchain will follow the Bgold protocol; in this article, that coin will be referred to as “BTG.” The third blockchain will follow the SegWit2x protocol; that coin will be referred to as “B2X.”
The good news is that each BTC will effectively be copied onto both the Bgold and the SegWit2x blockchains. If you hold Bitcoin private keys at the time of the forks, you should be able to access your BTG and B2X coins as well.
The bad news is that such forks can be somewhat messy and risky. If you’re not careful, it’s easy to lose your BTC or B2X, and maybe your BTG.
Before the Fork
First of all, be aware that coin-splits can be somewhat risky — especially controversial ones like the SegWit2x fork. While it seems unlikely for now, there is a chance some kind of cyber-battle will break out, perhaps even escalating to the point where all exchange rates drop sharply. If you want to make sure not to be caught in any crossfire, it’s best to not hold more value in bitcoin than you are willing to lose.
If you do decide to hold on to your bitcoin, make sure you are prepared before October 25, and preferably sooner. This is the day the BTG equivalent will be distributed to all BTC balances. B2X will follow a couple of weeks later, around mid-November (the exact date is not yet known).
If you are storing your bitcoins on an exchange, in a custodial service like Coinbase, Circle or Xapo, or on any other service that holds your private keys for you, you may or may not eventually receive BTC, BTG and B2X. This is not yet very clear, and if you want to keep storing your coins on such services, you should at least see if your exchange or custodial service of choice has made an official statement on the forks, perhaps on their company blog. If not, contact them to ask.
After Bitcoin Gold Fork
The Bitcoin Gold fork is sometimes referred to as a “friendly fork.” This is mainly because it has no intention of claiming to be the “real” Bitcoin, and it plans to implement strong replay protection.
In short, this replay protection means that you won’t accidentally send your BTG when you mean to send BTC (or the other way around). So even after you’ve spent your BTC, you can still access your BTG.
After SegWit2x Fork
Unfortunately, the SegWit2x fork could play out a bit more messily.
For one, several of the companies backing SegWit2x consider this fork an upgrade of Bitcoin itself. They therefore currently have no intention to adopt a new name for it. Some of them will call or list (what this article refers to as) SegWit2x and B2X, as “Bitcoin” and “BTC”. Meanwhile, they might call or list (what this article refers to as) BTC as “B1X”, or another ticker.
And of course, all coins will command their own exchange rates. So as different exchanges list a different coin as “BTC”, the price for “BTC” could differ vastly across exchanges: they’re actually different coins! You should therefore not buy or sell any coin listed as “BTC”, unless and until you are very sure which coin your exchange lists as “BTC”.
Getting Your Coins
If all three chains survive, and you control your private keys, you should be able to access BTC, BTG and B2X around mid-November.
Claiming your BTG should be relatively easy, assuming there are wallets available for it. Most likely, you’d simply need to insert your private keys (or private key seed) into such a wallet.
However, there are some security and privacy risks in doing so. It’s too soon to tell exactly what these risks will look like as it’s unclear which wallets will support BTG. (It’s not even certain that any wallets will.) But in general, you’ll first want to move your BTC (and B2X) to new addresses or whole new wallets before accessing your BTG.
1. It’s best to control your private keys yourself before October 25, and hold on to them until after the SegWit2x fork, mid-November.
2. To be on the safe side, avoid buying or selling any “BTC” and don’t make any transactions shortly after the SegWit2x fork.
3. As the dust settles after the SegWit2x fork, access and split your coins. (How to do this will be explained on Bitcoin Magazine once there is more clarity.)
Source: Bitcoin Magazine
(Author: Aaron van Wirdum)
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