According to Coinbase, the Time for Free Coins (Free Bitcoin Gold) Has Passed.
If Coinbase is right, that means it doesn’t matter if you have Bitcoin on October 25th (or at block 491,407; it is still unclear which is the key here). Instead, the snapshot date was some date not known to the public that has already passed.
Please read Coinbase’s take here: Bitcoin Gold FAQ.
NOTE: BitcoinGold published a rebuttal to this. See: Bitcoin Gold Community Response.
UPDATE: The best current insight we have is that block 491,407 matters and the dates don’t. Coinbase’s word is still very important to consider, but for those who want to take a chance on Gold: See the best answer we have here.
UPDATE: Coinbase seems to have changed its position. It now says, “The fork will occur after block 491,406 is mined on October 24th.” Thus, block 491,407 matters (the date is likely an estimate of when the block will occur). With that said, block 491,406 should happen on the evening of the 23rd (despite what has been reported). See blockexplorer.
UPDATE: Bittrex.com, a popular Bitcoin exchange, is offering a different snapshot/capture date than Coinbase for Bitcoin Gold.Bittrex.com says the date is the 24th at 3am Eastern (at block 491,407). Coinbase says the snapshot date already passed. The official Bitcoin Gold website says “the 25th” with no specific time (although they also denote block 491,407). Put that all together, and we now have three conflicting answers from sources that should be seen to have some authority on the subject. That notably makes things confusing.
NOTE: Whatever that date is, assuming Bitcoin Gold is real, if you had your Bitcoin in a wallet on that date you should be all means get 1 Bitcoin Gold for every Bitcoin held. If you had your coins in Coinbase or an exchange or the like, you need to read their FAQ. For Coinbase, Bitcoin Gold will be held by Coinbase until it is confirmed as stable. At that point, assuming Bitcoin Gold is legit, Coinbase will figure out how to distribute coins to those who are owed them. Each entity will be dealing with Bitcoin Gold a differently, so make sure you understand the implications of any wallet that isn’t a full node where you own your private keys directly.
IMPORTANT: You have to make your own call about what to do with this information. We don’t want to influence your personal investment choices. The idea is to update you on “facts about cryptocurrency; i.e. cryptocurrency facts” not to tell you how to invest. With that said, it is hard to dismiss this Coinbase announcement. Coinbase is kind of a big deal in the U.S. crypto space, and their word should be considered to have weight.
If this is true it also means that the Oct 25th date stated on the official Bitcoin Gold site is misleading (although no one seems to know what is the case for sure). THAT IS A GIANT RED FLAG. They have also not released their code yet. ANOTHER RED FLAG. One could easily imagine a case where a group of Bitcoin holders made this up to pump Bitcoin. Considering Bitcoin was bumped… we should all be very very cautious right now.
NOTE: To be clear “red flags” are just what they are. For all we know Bitcoin Gold could be the most important crypto of the era and Bitcoin could shoot up to $10k and stay there upon the fork. Things are uncertain, thus one should be cautious. Wether caution means being bullish or bearish for you is your call.
What to Do With This Information
As noted, we can’t tell you what to do with this information… and neither can anyone else.
Although no one can tell you what the right move for you is, it certainly seems reasonable to trust Coinbase, to set stops for Bitcoin, and to not forget about other cryptos that didn’t see a recent price spike like Ether for example.
Being conservative and cautious here will help protect you against some worst case scenarios (even if they might also result in you leaving money on the table if best cases play out). With that said, it is likely many will ignore Coinbase’s claims and hold Bitcoin on the 25th just in case. We can’t tell you what to do, but we can tell you trusting Coinbase hasn’t been a bad move in general so far.
“The fork has already privately occurred at a point known only to the Bitcoin Gold development team. The Bitcoin Gold blockchain will be made publicly available when the Bitcoin blockchain reaches block number 491,407, which is currently estimated to occur on October 25, 2017.”
BOTTOMLINE: So to be crystal clear, if Coinbase is right, the “capture” AKA “snapshot” date has already passed and that date is actually unknown to the public. If that is true, it means it doesn’t matter if you hold Bitcoin on the 25th or at block 491,407. Meanwhile, if other sources are right, block 491,407 is likely the key here. There is going to be a lot to discuss after the unknowns become known, but for the time being, there isn’t much more to talk about.
NOTE: To paraphrase the FAQ posted above: Coinbase stated that while all users who held Bitcoin on the capture date will get their Bitcoin Gold if Bitcoin Gold proves to be real and stable. However, they will not move to embrace Bitcoin Gold out of the gate, as they are concerned about security issues since the code has not been released to the public yet.
WHAT SHOULD I DO WITH BITCOIN? If you have Bitcoin now, you could gamble that Coinbase is wrong and that the Bitcoin Gold site is right. That is, you could assume the 25th is the magic date, stay in from 24th to 26th to be safe, and/or assume block 491,407 is the magic number. However, these are all a bit of a gamble. What if Bitcoin Gold is bogus and China moves to ban exchanges on the 25th? After-all, that date has long been rumored to be around the time China will announce how they plan to proceed with crypto regulations. What I’m saying is, what if this whole Gold thing was part of a ruse to get people to buy into Bitcoin before some event only a small group of people know is coming? That would explain the sudden announcement and lack of public code and other details. What I am saying isn’t “don’t invest” or “do invest” what I’m saying is: “who knows”… but if you trust Coinbase, consider proceeding with extreme caution until after the 25th. Remember, you can use GDAX to set stops if you have a Coinbase account (and you can do similar things with other exchanges). A stop set around the time block 491,407 hits (to protect you in the case of bad news) is a somewhat conservative move that might appeal to some investors. Again, we can’t tell you what to do, but we do hope the insight helps you make the best choice for you.