Statement on potential Bitcoin chain split

After months of contentious debate, it now seems clear that the Bitcoin ecosystem has finally come to consensus about Segwit, a major upgrade for the Bitcoin network. At the time of this post, 144 of the past 144 blocks mined have been signaling for activation of Segwit. Unless miners change their mind and stop signaling for it, Segwit should be irrevocably activated on August 7 or 8.

Since the overwhelming majority of the Bitcoin ecosystem has reached an agreement about Segwit before the User Activated Soft Fork (UASF) deadline of August 1, the nightmare scenario of a contentious chain split that seemed probable a few weeks ago, now seems improbable. Nevertheless, some danger remains.

Even though the probability of a disruptive chain split around August 1 is small, the consequences in that unlikely event could be catastrophic. In addition, a new factor has recently been added to the mix: BitcoinCash is a non-contentious chain split scheduled for the same time. We call it non-contentious because unlike Bitcoin XT, Bitcoin Classic, and Bitcoin Unlimited, BitcoinCash is not trying to steal the Bitcoin brand name; it is clearly identifying itself as a new, separate digital currency. We will have more to say about BitcoinCash in a future blog post.

The combined possibilities of contentious chain splits, non-contentious chain splits, and accidental chain splits has created such a complex and potentially dangerous situation that we have decided the safest way to deal with it is to temporarily suspend Bitcoin deposits and withdrawals for a 72-hour period from July 31 to August 2. Trading will continue uninterrupted during this time. Ethereum and Ethereum Classic deposits and withdrawals will not be affected. This policy is subject to clarification or change as the situation unfolds. If we have strong confirmation that no chain split has or will occur, we may restore deposits and withdrawals earlier. If a chain split occurs and results in unexpected chaos, we may extend the suspension of deposits and withdrawals until it is technically safe to resume normal processing.

No matter what happens around August 1, the security of user assets will always be our primary concern. If there is any doubt about how to deal with unforeseen circumstances arising from a chain split, we will always err on the side of caution. We do not expect to see any major disruptions to the Bitcoin network around August 1, but if there is, we will deal with it safely and in accordance with industry best practices.

At this time BitStar does not plan to support any alternative digital currencies that are forked from Bitcoin.