The Bitcoin Cash Fork (Bitcoin SV) Explained
The Bitcoin Cash fork snapshot is on November 15th (11/15/2018 at 4:40pm UTC). The expected result is two Bitcoin Cash chains and two Bitcoin Cash tokens. These two versions of Bitcoin Cash are commonly called BTCABC and BTCSV. Assuming all goes as planned, BCH holders will get the forked asset, Bitcoin SV, at a 1:1 ratio to BCH.
In other words, if all goes as planned you’ll go into the fork with Bitcoin Cash (BCH) and come out with two versions of Bitcoin Cash, Bitcoin ABC (BTCABC) and Bitcoin Satoshi’s Vision AKA Bitcoin SV (BTCSV).
To qualify for the fork, you must hold your BCH in a wallet before the snapshot (or, if using an exchange or third party wallet, before they take their snapshot which may be earlier).
UPDATE: BCH has forked, please don’t move your coins until it is confirmed to be safe to do so! Check with your exchange to see when trading opens up again.
Bitcoin Unlimited: Bitcoin Unlimited is software that is remaining neutral and is meant to mine both chains. You can read more about this below, but this is not going to be a forked asset.
Timestamp of snapshot: This fork is at a Unix Timestamp and not at a specific block. The timestamp is 1542300000, which is 11/15/2018 at 4:40pm UTC. I incorrectly understood the timestamp as the block height at first, don’t make the same mistake 🙂
Semantics: On some exchanges BTCABC is called BCHABC. It may also simply be called Bitcoin Cash BCH. Likewise, on some exchanges BTCSV is BCHSV or BSV. So if you end up with two BCH tokens on any exchange, assume one is ABC and the other SV.
IMPORTANT: This fork is contentious, and there is still a chance that Bitcoin Cash won’t fork. The article below generally assumes a fork that results in two Bitcoin Cash chains and therefore two tokens. However, if you keep reading you’ll note we also explain some other possible outcomes.
The Gist of Claiming Your Bitcoin SV
In general, to ensure you get both Bitcoin Cash tokens (BTCABC and BTCSV), you should keep your coins in a wallet where you own your private keys during the snapshot (please see warnings below about the lack of replay protection on SV and make sure to follow best practices on claiming forks). See: a list of BCH wallets on BitcoinCash.org.
If you don’t want to deal with your private keys, and especially if you do want to trade the fork, another solid option is picking an exchange that has specifically stated that it will credit users for both chains.
Bittrex and Poloniex are two exchanges who have explicitly stated their support of ABC and SV. Of those Poloniex is allowing early trading, and Bittrex has said it will take all reasonable measures to credit users with SV.
Lastly, a few exchanges have meanwhile said they will only support ABC, for example Kraken and Bitmex (the current BCH contract is a BTCABC contract).
You can see a list of exchanges who support SV below.
IMPORTANT: You have to be in before the snapshot to qualify for a snapshot. That means your transaction needs to be mined onto the chain (not just sent).
IMPORTANT: Some exchanges will shut down withdrawals / deposits and/or freeze trading before the fork. You must have your BCH on the exchange before the exchange takes their own snapshot! Once you know what exchange you’ll use, read their directions on the fork carefully.
TIP: Here is a list of exchanges that will support the Bitcoin Cash fork from Coindesk (updated by us as we learn more). To get information on an exchange or wallet and their support of SV, simply google “[exchange name] Bitcoin SV” or “[exchange name] BTCSV.”
Understanding the Bitcoin Cash Fork
What is happening is that Bitcoin Cash is undergoing a planned upgrade that will result in a hard fork.
The problem is two factions of developers and miners could not agree on the direction of Bitcoin Cash.
The expected result is that each faction will take Bitcoin Cash in a different direction, and the likely result will be at least two chains (each choosing a different upgrade path).
In this split:
- The current but upgraded BCH will either trade under BTCABC (Bitcoin [Cash] ABC) or simply Bitcoin Cash (BCH or BCC),
- The fork is likely going to trade under BTCSV (Bitcoin Satoshi’s Vision),
- And, in the event that another faction (the Unlimited faction) decides not to update the current chain at all, that chain’s token may continue to trade under BCH or it may get its own ticker (this would be done by Bitcoin Unlimited, a camp that wants to avoid the contentious hard fork). <— yes, there is potential of a 3 way split and thus 3 tokens (although this outcome is unlikely given Bitcoin Unlimited’s goals).
With that said, the current expected result is, as explained above, a two way split that results in two assets, BTCABC and BTCSV. If one chain becomes dominate, it may be known as Bitcoin Cash moving forward. Meanwhile if the Bitcoin Unlimited chain persists, that could complicate the naming of things.
In general most exchanges are either:
- Favoring ABC,
- Offering both ABC (sometimes simply called BCH or BCC) and SV to clients after the fork,
- Or, waiting until the dust settles and supporting the dominate chain.
To add complication, reports are showing miners are favoring SV.
WARNING: If one faction controls more than 51% of the mining power, they can effectively freeze the other chain by mining empty blocks. The SV camp has threatened to do this to ABC. As you read on you’ll realize that the fork is rather contentious. I’m covering the core details here first.
Other Important Information Pertaining to the Bitcoin SV Fork
There is a good deal to know about this fork, as this is one of the more high profile and contentious forks of 2018. Above I covered some basics, below is some other important information. Please read carefully.
Being in For the Snapshot
To qualify for a fork you need to be in before the snapshot. Specifically, the snapshot of the Bitcoin Cash fork is at Unix timecode 1542300000. Then, the Bitcoin SV main net goes live at some point after the snapshot. In theory you can move your coins after the snapshot block, but make sure to see warnings below about replay protection (once the new chain is live things could get dicey).
Exchanges may take their snapshots early. Please read the official documents from each exchange.
No Replay Protection on SV?!
To add complexity, there is word that Bitcoin SV does not have replay protection, so moving your coins after the fork could result in you losing your coins.
Due to this, you have to think carefully about what you want to do after the fork before the fork.
WARNING: If replay protection isn’t implemented, it could mean sending your BCH or Bitcoin SV between wallets after the fork will put your coins it risk. After the fork you’ll likely want to not move your coins again until the dust settles. So go into the snapshot in the wallet or exchange you want to be in.
The ABC and Ver Vs. SV and Wright Drama
Up until this point I haven’t really explained the drama behind the fork. Here it is:
Why fork? Bitcoin Cash’s protocol requires two forks a year, this is one of them (i.e. Nov 15 was going to be an upgrade date no matter what).
Why fork in two different directions? Bitcoin Cash’s community couldn’t agree on a single upgrade. This is a disagreement is over block size, it is a disagreement turned into a heated battle between one camp who wants 32mb blocks (ABC) and one who wants 128mb blocks (SV). You can get an overview of the direction each fork wants to go here.
The Two Major Factions: The two factions who disagree on block size are Bitcoin ABC’s Bitcoin Cash (backed by Roger Ve) and Bitcoin SV (backed by Craig Steven Wright). See Ver’s thoughts in video form, see Craig’s Twitter (these guys are the faces, but in the background there are other major players, including miners, developers, and major investors).
ABC vs. SV: The current chain is developed by Bitcoin ABC, and many of the chain’s biggest miners are breaking away into the SV camp. The ticker for the ABC chain may be called BTCABC on some or all exchanges. The asset forking off is Bitcoin SV, this may be called BTCSV on some or all exchanges. The current non-forked Bitcoin Cash is called BCH on most exchanges (and BCC on Binance). After the fork the expected result is there will only be Bitcoin Cash (AKA Bitcoin ABC) and Bitcoin SV.
What does SV stand for: Bitcoin SV stands for Bitcoin Satoshi’s Vision.
OH THE IRONY: The reason Bitcoin Cash is splitting is because, ironically, the community couldn’t agree on the direction of Bitcoin Cash when it came to block size (it is ironic because Bitcoin Cash split from Bitcoin because they couldn’t agree on the direction of Bitcoin when it came to block size).
A Third Token?: The information on this split is a little sparse, but there is a chance that a third chain will be run by Bitcoin Unlimited. Bitcoin Unlimited, is not a fork, it is a node implementation that supports both forks (see their BUIP098 “ceasefire solution”). So you have camp 1 who supports BCH, camp 2 who supports Bitcoin SV, and then camp 3 will support both. It is unlikely the camp who supports both will result in a third token, but it could end up that a group of people run the old un-upgraded chain (resulted in 3 chains and 3 tokens total).
Bitcoin Cash November 15, 2018 Network Upgrade Specification – https://github.com/bitcoincashorg/bitcoincash.org/blob/master/spec/2018-nov-upgrade.md
Bitcoin ABC full node – https://www.bitcoinabc.org/
Bitcoin SV announcement – https://nchain.com/en/blog/bitcoin-sv-launch/
ABC Github – https://github.com/Bitcoin-ABC/bitcoin-abc
SV Github – https://github.com/bitcoin-sv/bitcoin-sv
Bottomline: For most users, traders, and investors the only thing they really need to know is: THERE IS A FORK ON NOV 15 that will result in a new coin for BCH holders. The average holder then just needs to choose between a third party wallet or exchange that supports the fork or a wallet where they control their private keys. For miners and developers, they will want to go research Bitcoin ABC’s BCH (backed by Roger Ver), Bitcoin SV (backed by Craig Steven Wright), and the mediator Bitcoin Unlimited to find out what chain they want to run and/or develop for (miners, see announcement on SV’s chain). And remember, until we hear more about replay protection on SV you’ll want to keep your BCH on whatever address or platform you have it on going into the fork! Also, remember, there is still a chance there will be no fork. For best practices for claiming forks, see our guide to forks.
- Summing up the Bitcoin Cash hard-fork debate. TheBlockCrypto.com. <— a useful article that sums up the debate and includes a lot of useful links.
- Announcing Bitcoin ABC 0.18.0. Bitcoinabc.org.
- Bitcoin SV Full Node Implementation Launched to Fully Restore Original Bitcoin Protocol. nchain.com.
- Statement on the Bitcoin Cash [BCH] network protocol upgrade and the proposed Bitcoin SV [BSV] fork. nchain.com.