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Blog posts, Thought leadership | 07/31/2017

Managing the “Bitcoin Cash” fork

crypto Hardware Security

A fork ? That seems fun

This article is a follow up on our previous one “Securing your Bitcoin Cash stash” detailing the different options to prepare for Bitcoin Cash hard fork happening on the 1st of August 12:20 pm UTC and start using it.

If you don’t care about Bitcoin Cash right now

The replay mechanism changed significantly since our previous article — the new transaction format (SIGHASH_FORKID) on the Bitcoin Cash chain is now mandatory — thus there is no need to split your Bitcoin (and the OP_RETURN scheme detailed previously is now deprecated).

Your Bitcoin balance is not at risk and your Bitcoin Cash balance will be waiting for you even if you don’t touch anything.

Before the fork : updating your Ledger devices

Again, you only need to do this if you want to transact on the Bitcoin Cash chain right now.

Nano S/Blue, Nano and HW.1 owners : update the “Ledger Bitcoin Wallet” chrome application to the 1.8.0 version (restarting Chrome should be enough).

Nano S/Blue owners : you’ll need to install the “Bitcoin Cash” application from Ledger Manager and use it to transact on the Bitcoin Cash chain. This requires the latest firmware for the Nano S (1.3.1) — you can follow this guide to update if necessary (in case you have to update the firmware from a firmware version below 1.3.0, you must have your mnemonic phrase available).

Nano and HW.1 owners : you’ll need to install the 1.0.2 firmware update bundled with the updated “Ledger Bitcoin Wallet” chrome application (you must have your mnemonic phrase available).

Unplugged owners or if you don’t want to update your device : you will still get your Bitcoin Cash balance. If you wish to transact immediately, you should import individual private keys into a compatible wallet following the “Advanced” part of this recovery procedure — be aware that there’ll likely be scammers advertising fake splitting tools and dedicated “Bitcoin Cash” wallets, and do your own research, slowly. We suggest using

Before the fork : sending funds to a Bitcoin Cash friendly exchange

We do not recommend doing that, but it’s an option to consider if you want to bet on the possibility that an exchange could start trading before the Bitcoin Cash chain could actually transact and want to start trading as soon as possible.

Changing chains in the Bitcoin Wallet Chrome application

Bitcoin Wallet Chrome application settings

You can choose the chain you plan to transact on when opening the application, or choosing the “Blockchain” option in “Settings”

After the fork : general guidelines

Guys, where’s my instant transaction ?

You’ll be able to transact on the “Bitcoin Cash” chain offered by the new “Bitcoin Wallet” Chrome application after the fork — before the fork, you won’t be able to send transactions.

If you own a Nano S/Blue, make sure to always open the “Bitcoin Cash” application before transacting on that chain, not the “Bitcoin” application — otherwise you’ll get an error when signing.

Depending on the hashpower available on the Bitcoin Cash chain, transacting could be painfully slow until the difficulty adjusts after half a day to a few days — do not expect to be able to transact immediately.

To summarize, expect a widely chaotic environment.

After the fork : splitting your funds

The “Bitcoin Cash” chain selection screen

Splitting your funds is no longer a requirement now that the Bitcoin Cash chain offers a two-way replay protection, but is still recommended if you plan to hold your Bitcoin Cash for some time to avoid getting lured by scammers that’ll surely play on the confusion between both chains and have a safety net in case the Bitcoin Cash developers (or the next forks) decide to remove the replay protection at some point, which is still possible as it is not part of the consensus rules.

Splitting is achieved simply by performing transactions on the Bitcoin Cash chain using your “duplicated” funds on that chain (sitting on m/0’/) to a new destination that’ll be derived on a different path of your Hierarchical Deterministic wallet (on m/145’/)

First, open the Ledger Wallet Chrome application on the “Bitcoin Cash Split” chain, and write down an address.

Then switch to the “Bitcoin Cash” chain, and perform a transaction to this address, validating the address on the device.

You can choose to send your full balance or individual transactions to individual addresses, depending if you wish to focus on performance/cost (first option) or privacy (second option)

After the fork : transacting

Just open the Ledger Wallet Chrome application on the “Bitcoin Cash Split” chain (if you split your funds) or on the “Bitcoin Cash” chain (if you didn’t split your funds) and perform your transaction as usual.

Keep calm and hodl on

The fork will be a wild ride if you want to trade — expect important price swings, FUD and scam attempts everywhere.

Your hardware wallet helps you to hodl securely and transact, but can’t prevent hasty decisions — so be extremely vigilant when moving funds while the situation unfolds.

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