The Bitcoin fork – What options South Africans have

It has been an uncertain few weeks for Bitcoin, with threats of hard forks, soft forks, and campaigning among users and miners to support various proposals for scaling the platform.

A group supporting the User-Activated Hard Fork recently announced they would bifurcate the Bitcoin blockchain, despite the success of Bitcoin Improvement Proposal 91.

The group claims it counts miners, developers, investors, and bitcoin users among its membership, and said it will launch its project, dubbed Bitcoin Cash, on 1 August.

Everyone with Bitcoin at the time of the potential fork will receive the same amount of Bitcoin Cash on the new blockchain.

However, this is provided that you control the private keys of your wallet.

South African online wallet provider Luno said it will not support Bitcoin Cash. Should you wish to access your balance of Bitcoin Cash, you will need to withdraw your Bitcoin from Luno and place it in a different wallet.

“We can’t make any recommendations for any third-party platforms,” said Luno.

“At this time, it is highly unlikely that Bitcoin Cash will have significant support from all the right stakeholders – miners, developers, platforms, and users. Most Bitcoin platforms, including Luno, will not be supporting Bitcoin Cash.”

ICE3X, another cryptocurrency exchange operating in South Africa, said it also does not have plans to support Bitcoin Cash.

“We are focused on being an exchange,” said ICE3X operator Gareth Grobler.

If users wish to sync with both blockchains after the fork, they must own and manage their own private keys.

“As a general rule, we do not believe an exchange should be a wallet provider and vice versa.”

Grobler said they advised their users who want to claim their Bitcoin Cash to withdraw their Bitcoin before the 31 July to a wallet – preferably a hardware wallet – where they own their private keys.

Bitcoin Cash support

At the time of writing, several overseas exchanges and wallet providers indicated they will support Bitcoin Cash when it launches.

Exchanges on-board include Kraken, QUOINEX, ViaBTC, and OKCoin.

Wallet providers that will support Bitcoin Cash include Bitcoin Classic, Ledger, Trezor, and Electrum Cash.

“There are a host of unknowns and nobody can predict which route is going to cover all eventualities,” said Grobler.

“There is no real reason for us not to be able to provide a ZAR market for BTCC. It all boils down to whether it is economically viable for us.”

Now read: Bitcoin community celebrates move to new scaling platform

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The Bitcoin fork – What options South Africans have