Other: Blockchain Forks

Table of contents

  1. General information on Bitcoin chain forks
    1. Background
    2. What should I do?
    3. What will we do?
  2. Segwit2x forks
  3. Bitcoin Gold
  4. Bitcoin Cash

General information on Bitcoin chain forks


In the future, the Bitcoin blockchain may fork or split. This occurs when a portion of Bitcoin nodes run software that is not fully compatible with other nodes. Chain forks occur in order to update the Bitcoin protocol. A chain fork could be thought of as a vote about how best to improve Bitcoin. However, a chain fork may result in unreliable transactions for an unknown length of time. Furthermore, if different groups have different ideas about how to best improve Bitcoin, it may be hard to predict how the community as a whole will value (i.e. price) coins in each side of the chain fork.

The good news is that coins held in a BitBox are completely safe. The BitBox itself and any coins secured by the device do not depend on the type of nodes active. When a chain fork occurs, you automatically now own coins on both sides of the fork, or, in other words, coins on each chain. All coins held in the device CANNOT be lost (unless you lose your password). All coins are safe no matter what happens in a future chain fork.

However, risks exist when sending and possibly receiving coins. This is the same situation for any and all types of wallets. Be warned that transactions sent while the chain is forked could disappear later. If a transaction disappears, Bitcoins sent would automatically return to the sender. Coins you receive may disappear later! While the situation remains unresolved, other people may thus not accept a transaction as a valid payment. If ‘replay protection’ is not implemented for a chain fork, a transaction on one chain can (and likely will) be replayed by an anonymous third party on the other chain. This means that sending coins on one chain will likely cause your cloned coins on the other chain to also get sent.

What should I do?

In the event that a chain fork happens, the safest thing to do is to do nothing and wait for the dust to settle. Theoretically, the situation should resolve quickly - i.e. which of the different chains becomes the dominant chain - but this is not guaranteed. Considering that a transaction with too low of a fee can take extra time until it enters the blockchain, it is advisable to suspend transacting a day or two before a fork is scheduled to occur.

What will we do?

In general, our goal is to help our customers protect their coins. We try to be neutral and follow the community’s lead. In the event a chain fork occurs that is valued by the community, we will do our best to quickly provide a tool that can safely access and send coins on both sides of the chain fork. This may be either directly in our desktop app or by an integration with a third party app. We will provide status updates and instructions on Twitter as needed.

Segwit2x forks

The Segwit2x fork scheduled to occur 16 November 2017 has been called off.

Bitcoin Gold

Contact us by clicking the button in the lower right corner or send an email to support@shiftcrypto.ch so that we can assist you.

Bitcoin Cash

Contact us by clicking the button in the lower right corner or send an email to support@shiftcrypto.ch so that we can assist you.