Bitcoin Cash Hard Fork on 15 November 2018

The Bitcoin Cash (BCH) blockchain will undergo a hard fork on 15 November 2018 resulting in two different coins and blockchains. At this stage, it appears the “ABC chain” will be the dominant chain, and Luno aims to support it.

Please note this fork only affects Bitcoin Cash (BCH). Bitcoin (BTC) and Ethereum (ETH) are not affected and no action is required.


Understanding the hard fork

Since its inception, the Bitcoin Cash blockchain has been undergoing scheduled hard forks every six months to upgrade and improve the protocol. In most cases, these hard forks are uncontested with the whole community supporting them. In this case, however, consensus couldn’t be reached with two factions emerging, and proposing different solutions for the upgrade.

The dominant group is lead by the developers of the most commonly used Bitcoin Cash client, Bitcoin ABC, who are introducing new operation codes as well as canonical transaction ordering. We believe this will be the best option for our customers.

Another group—led by NChain—supports restoring legacy operation codes as well as increasing the maximum block size.

At the moment, it’s unclear whether the NChain chain will survive, or what value it might attain.

What we’re going to do

Luno aims to support the dominant ABC chain. We will continue our current support for Bitcoin Cash, with all our customers’ BCH funds backed by it after the hard fork.

We will process BCH withdrawals up to 14 November, the day before the fork, as per our normal schedule. A few days after the fork, once all the dust has settled and the dominant chain has emerged, and we’ve ensured all our systems are functioning correctly, we will continue processing withdrawals.

In short, we don’t aim to support the NChain chain at all. This means that if this chain does end up surviving, all customer funds backed by it will not be made available.

At Luno, we make sure we think about all the possibilities and look at every angle when a hard fork like this happens. We do this to ensure your safety to the best of our ability. If you have a moment, you can learn more about how we choose coins to offer on our exchange.

What you need to do

If you also support the ABC chain, and are confident in our decision, then you don’t have to do anything. Your BCH funds will remain safely on Luno and backed by the dominant BCH chain after the fork.

However, if you want to ensure that you retain access to your funds on both blockchains after the hard fork, we recommend you withdraw your BCH to a wallet or platform that aims to support both chains. We’ll be processing these withdrawals on Wednesday 14 November 2018, so please request a withdrawal before then. We can’t make any recommendations for which third-party platforms to use.

What to expect

At this time, we don’t expect to disable BCH withdrawals on the Luno platform for more than a few days after the fork. However, depending on how things develop, we may at any time take reasonable temporary precautions to protect our customers’ funds. Please also prepare for the following possibilities over the coming days:

  • Delayed BCH withdrawals
  • Technical issues with the forked Bitcoin Cash blockchain
  • Other exchanges and wallets may suspend or delay their services
  • Uncertainty and confusion in the press and forums

If you have any questions for us, or would like to know more about Bitcoin’s hard fork history, let us know. Our team is prepared for this technical event, and our priority remains to safeguard your funds in whatever scenario, now and in the future.

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