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Will Coinbase/GDAX Support the Bitcoin Forks?

Many Bitcoin forks have occurred or been announced. We know Coinbase/GDAX supports Bitcoin Cash and Bitcoin Gold, but will they support the new forks?

My Assumption About the Bitcoin Forks and Coinbase

I’m going to go out on a limb and make an educated guess based on what I think I understand about Coinbase and its policies. This is based fully on what Coinbase has said and done in the past.

Coinbase’s Statement

UPDATE: Coinbase essentially confirmed my assumption. They will do what they deem reasonable and best for their customers and Coinbase as a whole (specifically, they will consider adding coins that meet a check list found here). So expect support overtime for stable forks that retain value and developer support, but expect lesser forks to potentially slip by the wayside in the short term or indefinitely. This isn’t a result of Coinbase being difficult, it has to do with the amount of work that would go into claiming and supporting each fork and the risk an unstable fork would pose to Coinbase. See Coinbase’s official blog post’s 1. Our process for adding new assets to Coinbase & GDAX (March 2018 update) 2. How Coinbase approaches forked and airdropped assets, and 3. Adding Support for Bitcoin Forks to Coinbase.

My Original Theory on Coinbase and Forks

My guess is: Coinbase/GDAX will support any stable fork. That is to say, if you had Bitcoin in your Coinbase wallet, or on GDAX (the exchanged owned and operated by Coinbase), when the snapshot of a given fork occurred, my assumption is that Coinbase will credit you with the coin in some way (either by letting you trade it on site, or by allowing you to move it from Coinbase to another wallet). Further, I assume this will occur at a time of Coinbase’s discretion after confirming the fork is stable. In other words, my guess is that they will do what they need to do to give their customers that best experience possible and to offer the most value.

This fits Coinbase’s model, which is very different than that of Coinomi, Binance, or Hitbtc. Is more like that of Bittrex, which is somewhere in between. And of course, it is very different from simply controlling your own private keys.

In other words, we can expect a much slower process with Coinbase than we can with other entities, but we can and should also expect an upstanding process with Coinbase. It seems like a bizarre business decision for the top crypto company to drop the ball and let their users go without forked coins from 11 forks in a row. Its hard to imagine that that is the pathway that they will choose, especially given their past support of stable forks.

TIP: This article generally applies to all Litecoin forks, Ethereum forks, and Bitcoin Cash forks (i.e. forks of coins on Coinbase). So for example the answer to the question “will Coinbase support the Litecoin Cash fork” is “great question, we would all love an answer.” In the meantime, learn about how to get coins from forks.

UPDATE: Forget 11 forks, there have been over 20 forks announced and this point (and many snapshot block heights have passed). Some of the forks are even live already like Bitcoin Diamond, BitcoinX, and SuperBitcoin. It makes sense that Coinbase would be slow and steady and take a methodical approach (as that is their style be we talking about Bitcoin Cash or Segwit)… but at some point they are going to have to address this. Not everyone knows or cares, but those of us who do, we are busy scratching our heads. An update would be nice.

What We Know About Support For Past Bitcoin Forks

To understand the above theory, one has to understand Coinbase’s history with forks (both recent Bitcoin forks and the old Ethereum fork).

Pertinent to our conversation, it took Coinbase from the Bitcoin Cash fork date in early August to December 19, 2017 to credit users with Bitcoin Cash. This isn’t because they were being slow for no reason, it was because they were being methodical.

This essentially benefited Coinbase users greatly, as many who got their forked coins early on other platforms sold for $300 or less (meanwhile if you sold your Bitcoin Cash right away when your coins hit Coinbase, you got between $3,500 – $4,500 for them… big difference!)

Now Consider:

  • Bitcoin Gold has not been credited yet, but support was announced.
  • Coinbase planned to support the original Bitcoin Segwit2x fork, but the fork never occurred at the time (thus it is a moot point).

What We Still Don’t Know (And Would Really Like Coinbase to Tell Us)

All of the guessing and research aside, the bottom line is we don’t know what Coinbase has planned for the Bitcoin forks from Bitcoin Diamond forward.

That list potentially includes but is not limited to: Bitcoin Diamond (BCD), BitcoinX (BCX), Super Bitcoin (SBTC), Bitcoin Platinum (BTP), Lightning Bitcoin (LBTC), Bitcoin Cash Plus (BCP), Bitcoin Silver (BTCS), Bitcoin Uranium (BUM), Bitcoin God (GOD), Bitcoin Segwit2x “2.0,” and Bitcoin Interest (BCI).

They must be aware that Bitcoin is supposedly being forked over 10 times in the course of only a few months, yet they have said nothing.

This leaves us in guessing territory.

Do we guess that they will support all stable forks given their past statements and actions? That seems like a safe bet.

However, it would be nice not to have to guess. After-all, if they won’t support any of these forks, many customers might choose a non-Coinbase/GDAX wallet/exchange for their Bitcoin.

Meanwhile, if they come out and promise the sort of support we have seen from them in the past, many customers might prefer the due diligence of Coinbase and choose their platform for longterm storage (for example, their vault product).

Fingers crossed we get some confirmation one way or the other from Coinbase soon.

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"Will Coinbase/GDAX Support All Bitcoin Forks?" contains information about the following Cryptocurrencies:

Bitcoin (BTC)

What do you think?

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Newbie on

My brother wanted to move some bitcoin off his paper wallet but he would lose out on forked coins that have not been issued by exposing his paper wallet private keys. This is wrong! Any Bitcoin fork should be required to have an active means in which to immediately claim at time of fork!

Thomas DeMichele on

The snapshot block (or whatever you want to call it specifically) is when the chain is copied, but you can’t actually claim the coins until they go live. The developers of each fork have to decide how they are going to handle the logistics. No Bitcoin fork so far has gone live directly after the snapshot to my knowledge, there is always a weeks or months long gap between the two events.

Mike on

Give us our forks in $ fiat or supported but stop leaving us in the dark. Hope someone sues or they get their shi$$ straight. Not right they won’t give us our “COINS”

Thomas DeMichele on

Well it wouldn’t make sense to get the forked coins in fiat dollars. And it is reasonable for them to lag on divvying up forked coins… but all stable forks must be accounted for and a plan must be made. What I don’t dig is the lack of communication on the topic.

Rarita on

I think you raise a hugely under discussed topic. IMO it is the same as schwab not passing through dividends to stock holders – even if a company is on the brink of bankruptcy and somehow issues a stock dividend, all holders get the stock, regardless of stability. Im due at least 1 or more of all the forked coins since 2015. I have to say (partly to justify my current situation and partly to compliment coinbase) I cant complain about the overall security of my investment while reading about so many disasters over the same period of time. Give and take i guess but starting to be very expensive!

Thomas DeMichele on

Nice analogy!

It is frustrating and irresponsible of these exchanges to just ignore forks.

They technically have every forked coin they haven’t distributed. This is necessarily true.

Now in some cases it may make sense not to distribute funds from a sale or the tokens themselves, or it may make sense to wait. In other cases it is just bad business and highway robbery.

These are supposed to be custodians of our coins. It is like if you left your 3 member family with a care taker, then for whatever reason your family size grows, but when you go to pick up your family you only get the 3 members, but get no reasoning behind the exchange.

Like was something wrong? Are they OK? Are you going to keep them? What is going on here? We both know about these extra members, but you won’t even aknowledge their existence. I dropped of 3, you technically only owe my 3, but at this rate I’m going to stop using your service or recommending your service to friends.

It is one of the most absurd elephants in the room I think I’ve ever seen in any industry with any company.

Coinbase aside, think about how many exchanges are just sitting on mountains of forked coins. I assume these are unclaimed coins… but claimed or not, they have them if they have the keys to the associated addresses and thus can claim them. That is how it works. That means they have them.

We all see the elephant, when is it that we start talking about it? Do we have to wait for the CNBC investigative report, is the SEC going to have to get on this or something, or do the exchanges want to maybe say something before it gets to that point?

I get not getting the tokens yet, but I don’t get the across the board and across the globe silent treatment. So strange!