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Probability of Bitcoin split in two chains has been growing

17 July 2017 12:42, UTC

Most Bitcoin miners have ignored the first UASF/BIP 148 deadline to support Soft Fork that had to activate by chain users. According to Bitcoine Magazine, it can increase the probability of Bitcoin blockchain split into two independent chains.

Discussions of Bitcoin fate are likely to finish within next two weeks. Introduction of UASF/BIP 148 will trigger activation of Segregated Witness (SegWit) on August 01, 2017. Acceptance of SegWit by most of miners means that all current nodes in Bitcoin chain would keep following one chain, i.e. accept blocks using SegWit or signal to support this protocol.

If a minority of miners activates SegWit through BIP 148, Bitcoin blockchain and the cryptocurrency would split in two independent chains. This would result in at least two types of Bitcoin and possibly other alternative cryptocurrencies. A split would last until a majority of users joins the BIP 148 chain or until it is abandoned by all users and miners.

BitcoineCore developers suggested users to use SegWit activation mechanism considering that 95 percent of hash power has to support the protocol meant for two weeks. However, starting with Friday, July 14, 2017, 44 percent of found blocks are ready to support SegWit. Most of miners would like to activate SegWit through BIP 91.

BIP 91 can be compatible with BIP 148 if it is supported by 80 percent miners within 2 days and 8 hours. Thus, miners should signal support starting from July 26, 2017.

The last chance to avoid chain split is SegWit support directly through BIP 148 until 00.00 UTC on August 01, 2017. Switching to BIP 148 after August 01, 2017 is possible but it will likely cause stress in the network and possible loss of users’ funds who are not aware of the risks.

So, it is better to refrain from network transactions in late July – beginning of August and not to store Bitcoin at exchanges, which do not allow local copies of keys.