August 1 and the Potential Disruption of the Bitcoin Network

August 1 and the Potential Disruption of the Bitcoin Network

If you’ve been listening to the bitcoin ‘community,’ you’d know that in about two weeks the bitcoin network may face some protocol changes. Due to the possible user-activated soft fork (UASF) planned and the chance some groups may counter this plan, this has created thousands of discussions concerning August 1. Now the bitcoin-focused web portal Bitcoin.org has issued a warning on the site that informs users of a “potential network disruption.”

Also read: Mining, Merchants, and Traders—Thailand’s Got the Bitcoin Fever

August 1st and the Potential Network Disruption

Bitcoin users everywhere are getting prepared and heavily discussing the possibility of a blockchain split. The subject was discussed a lot this past March when bitcoin proponents and cryptocurrency businesses feared a potential split when the Bitcoin Unlimited implementation was seeing strong support. Now the conversation has resurfaced, but the topic of UASF or BIP148 is an entirely different scenario.

August 1 and The Potential Disruption of the Bitcoin Network

UASF (BIP148) is a mechanism designed to start on August 1st, at 00:00 UTC that activates a soft fork enforced by full nodes. After this point, full nodes participating in this plan will reject blocks that have not upgraded to BIP141 otherwise known as Segregated Witness (Segwit). At press time there are 1095 total UASF nodes out of 7896 reachable bitcoin nodes globally according to Bitnodes. UASF requires a lot of industry support and miners to activate Segwit, by this point if they do not support the activation the chain could diverge into two.

August 1 and The Potential Disruption of the Bitcoin Network

Currently, there are businesses that have announced initial support for BIP148 such as Abra, Trezor, Samourai Wallet, Electrum, Coinomi, Mycelium and roughly 37 other organizations. However, there are many wallets and a vast majority of exchanges that have not announced any support or issued warnings about the upcoming August 1st Segwit enforcement. This includes a significant amount of wallet providers and exchanges including Bitstamp, Kraken, Bitfinex, Gemini, BTCC, Poloniex, and many more. One relatively small exchange in Switzerland called Bity has warned its customers the platform will be halting trading on August 1st.  

Bitcoin.org’s Warning

On Wednesday, July 12, 2017, 08:00:00 GMT Bitcoin.org issued a warning in regards to the potential network disruption that may take place on July 31, 20:00:00 GMT/August 1st, 00:00 UTC.

“Bitcoin confirmation scores may become unreliable for an unknown length of time,” explains the network disruption warning. “This means that any bitcoins you receive after that time may later disappear from your wallet or be a type of bitcoin that other people will not accept as payment.”

Once the situation is resolved, confirmation scores will either automatically return to their normal reliability, or there will be two (or more) competing versions of Bitcoin. In the former case, you may return to using Bitcoin normally; in the later case, you will need to take extra steps in order to begin safely receiving bitcoins again.

August 1 and The Potential Disruption of the Bitcoin Network

The warning gives users some preparation guidelines and possible outcomes for during and after the UASF event. This includes not trusting payments during this time, and not sending payments until after the dust has settled. Even the maintainer of the website Bitcoinuptime.com says that there may be “potential bitcoin downtime from the upcoming BIP148 fork” and the network’s 99.991523267% uptime will have to be updated. Further, there was an issue concerning the Bitcoin.org alert over the wording “Bitcoin may be unsafe to use starting July 31st” in contrast to saying “potential network disruption.” The developer who made the change writes;

Note: I object to this change, which I think makes the alert less clear, less forceful, and degrades alert usability.  I make this change only because the Bitcoin.org site maintainer insists upon it.

GDAX Issues a Statement Concerning UASF

Following Bitcoin.org’s disruption alert one large bitcoin exchange has come forward issuing a warning and how the company will handle the August 1 situation. The cryptocurrency trading platform GDAX, a subset of Coinbase announced there will be a temporary suspension of deposits, withdrawals, and possibly trading on August 1. GDAX executive Adam White says, “the activation of UASF may create two blockchains,” and outlines how the company plans on handling the possible fork. If August 1 results in two chains, GDAX states;

  1. One blockchain becomes dominant, resulting in the other blockchain having low community adoption and value.
  2. Both blockchains are adopted, co-existing and operating independently of one another with roughly equal community adoption and value.

In either scenario, we will implement safeguards to ensure the safety of our customers’ funds. For example, we will temporarily suspend the deposit and withdrawal of bitcoin on GDAX and may pause the trading of bitcoin as well. This decision will be based on our assessment of the technical risks posed by the fork, such as replay attacks and other factors that could create network instability.

Bitcoin ABC

Another possible scenario to think about is the “Bitcoin ABC” (Adjustable Blocksize Cap) implementation that was revealed by the software engineer, Amaury Séchet at The Future of Bitcoin event in Arnhem. The project has released its latest client Bitcoin ABC 0.14.2 and says it’s a full node implementation of Bitcoin that removes Segwit code and replaces it with an adjustable block size cap. During the initial announcement, Séchet detailed that Bitcoin ABC is part of the user-activated hard fork contingency plan against BIP148.

August 1 and The Potential Disruption of the Bitcoin Network

In essence, the ABC protocol prepares for any disruptive risks associated with UASF activation and could also activate during the August 1st “Flag Day” as well. Besides being a contingency plan, the UAHF protocol will move the block size cap towards the activation of emergent consensus where users can decide block size themselves. Bitcoin ABC could counter the BIP148 soft fork which could cause network disruption, and a possible blockchain split as well.

Meanwhile, the Segwit2x Plan Moves Forward In the Midst of Egos and Constant Bickering

Alongside these two alternative plans, the Segwit2x working group has also been steadily preparing the compromise idea announced called the “New York Agreement.” The group released beta code and have been experimenting with the Segwit protocol and a 2MB hard fork on a Bitcoin testnet. So far there has been a lot of bickering about Segwit2x between the project’s lead developer Jeff Garzik, Bitcoin core developers, and the Blockstream CEO Adam Back. Many core supporters refuse to compromise on Segwit2x calling it “Franken-segwit” and a great majority of core developers have rejected supporting the idea. However, some core maintainers have been making comments on Segwit2x’s Github and the working group’s Slack channel. There is still uncertainty concerning the New York Agreement plan, but the working group is still moving along as August 1st gets closer.

As far as August 1st is concerned users should make sure they hold their private keys. There is a possibility of network disruption and Bitcoin.com will inform our readers of everything people need to know, including exchange updates, trading, withdrawal and deposit suspensions, and any other important information that arises in regards to this specific date.

What do you think about August 1st? Do you think there will be any potential network disruption or do you think nothing will happen at all? Let us know what you think in the comments below.


Images via Shutterstock, Pixabay, Saltylemon.org, Bitcoin.org, and Bitcoin ABC. 


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  • Zyo

    Popcorn time! Everyone make sure you get your bitcoin out of exchanges and have control over your private keys!

  • Liberty88

    Moved entirely to Litecoin

    • Patrick Durling

      I’m thinking of doing the same exact thing.

      • Liberty88

        MIT is supposedly going to activate lightning Network August 1st with Litecoin.

    • Per Sundberg

      why would ‘Litecoin’ be such a good alternative to bitcoin? Have you heard of dash? Instant transactions, voting and governance system, 2nd tier network, roadmap with 4000 transactions per second as a goal.. what else.. oh yes .. a 10% blockchain reward to development each month.. cmon.. ‘litecoin’?

      • Liberty88

        Watch MIT presser Aug. 1st. Litecoin will join Bitcoin at the hip. 21 million Bitcoin max
        84 million Litecoin max.

  • keeps happining

    crazy! sounds like it going to be a s***t storm!

  • JohnnyAp

    Litecoin time to shine got over 100k now hope they moon!!! Lolll

  • Monty Kirkman

    What a Fn mess!

    • Ifemayowa Omotunde-Bank

      Calm down bruv….

      I think people should be more seriously involved in this Blockchain/Bitcoin Technology with a long term perspective of greater performance for unparalleled appreciable value addition rather than be extremely worried and apprehensive about short term difficulties/challenges which in my own view is part of the upswing than the downfall.

  • FatinAsyikin

    I’m seriously don’t know what should I do.
    I just did preparation on private key control

    • gotroch

      1) You get your BTCs into your private wallet on your computer (i.e. you take your BTCs out of exchanges).
      2) You wait and do nothing, until dust settles down.
      3) If you fear the BTC may lost value dramatically, you may consider selling your bitcoins for some other good (well before 1 august).

      • FatinAsyikin

        Thank you~ I will follow up

      • Ifemayowa Omotunde-Bank

        Very good suggestion. Thanks Gotroch.

        However, what’s your take on converting my entire Bitcoin into another CryptoCurrency such as Litecoin or Ethereum or Dash???
        I am considering this as a safe and smart option.
        What do u think in your own view as the pros and cons of this strategy?

      • bitfur

        what about any other wallet like blockchain’s or exchanges which will support that like finex polo

        • gotroch

          I am not expert on that…

    • De Wilde Weldoener

      If you want out, sell your Bitcoin.
      If you want to stay in, hold all your Bitcoin in a wallet of which you and only you have the private keys, you should do this regardless of a coming chain split.
      If you do this, and Bitcoin splits into 2 flavours, you will own both flavours after the dust settles and can decide what to do with them once wallet software updates to distinguish between the two and let’s you buy/sell them separately.
      Do not transact on July 31st, August 1st or maybe even the week following that, weird stuff might happen because wallet software might be unable to properly handle 2 flavours.

      I myself am going to do zero transactions from July 31st onward until I get an updated wallet that supports any potential new flavour.

      • FatinAsyikin

        Thank you! Great suggestion

      • Ifemayowa Omotunde-Bank

        Succinctly explained! Correct Advice!
        Thanks DeWilde for these timely reminders.

        However, what’s your take on converting my entire Bitcoin into another CryptoCurrency such as Litecoin or Ethereum or Dash???
        I am considering this as a safe and smart option.
        What do u think in your own view as the pros and cons of this strategy?

        • De Wilde Weldoener

          Sorry for late reply.
          I have done very little reading on altcoins so there’s not much I can say about it, I’ve never owned any altcoins.
          Also I don’t do trading, so this is not advice to maximise your gains or anything.

          Changing into alts is basically selling your Bitcoin, just not for fiat.
          The upside would be that you can keep using the altcoin for transactions when Bitcoin is suffering potential network problems due to a chain split.
          Chain split is looking less likely today though.

          The downsides, and I see several, is that alts are still very much influenced by Bitcoin’s volatility, and they might not move the way you expect.
          If you want to avoid all volatility, sell for fiat.

          If you were going to exchange your Bitcoin for an altcoin, I would recommend doing the research to get your understanding of the altcoin to at least the level of your understanding of Bitcoin.
          If you don’t it’s a panic move.

          • Ifemayowa Omotunde-Bank

            Very well articulated advice. Thanks bruv!

            However, Whatever, Whichever way it all goes….. I have taken my position and approach towards August 1st… which is to hold on to my bitcoin in my private wallet… do nothing… even go down with Bitcoin if it all comes to that…. I believe it may seem scary initially… especially with all these uncertainties and apprehension going on… BUT I believe we stand to gain more in all ramifications in the long run.

  • gotroch

    I am optimistic. Nobody interest is to ruin bitcoin. Once everything goes smooth, the BTC will be stronger: the BTC community will prove to the entire world that BTC upgrading is possible. Technical issues will no longer be seen as danger: Somebody breaks SHA256? No problem. The community is “strong” enough to hard fork with new proof of work…

    • I love optimistic and positive people 🙂

    • Roman Mueller

      The interest of governments to destroy it is even very high

    • Matthew Delucia

      That new York agreement is 100% a sabotage, to steal our freedom from us again.

  • md

    Wonder how long this will affect bitcoin. I am going in litecoin until after it is sorted out. I have a good bit in cloud mining btc and am worried how this will affect the daily payout i am receiving.

  • Emile Wolfaardt

    Why would you not go Etherium? (Newby question)

    • AgonyOfVictory

      ETH is being dumped on the market for fiat by ICOs right now… looking at the recent price action, I def wouldn’t consider it a safe haven…

    • Liberty88

      I love Etherium – but it has had a good run and I think that it is Litecoin turn to shine especially with the August 1st potential split of Bitcoin.
      MIT is going to have an announcement about lightning Networks I think August 1st.

  • Great info Jamie, thanks.

  • Oleksandr Grin

    interesting! now , all of you will sell BTC, nad its price will go down, after august 3, all peeople will buy BTC but you can’t! because not only you are so smart, and wanna buy it now! and price will extremle grow. (My oppinion)
    SO GOOD LUCK GUYS! $)

  • Michael Volte

    People need to get their fiat currency out of this vortex as soon as possible.

    Prices are only going to drop from here as the prospect of a hardfork approaches. Holders are already realising this and selling – take a look at the last 6 hours. Once the fork happens, bitcoin will become incredibly non-liquid as all software – exchanges, wallets, everything – will need to be updated. The market will be flooded with people trying to get rid of their non-liquid coins and the value will drop to become nearly worthless.

    It’s basically the same thing that happens when hyperinflation occurs in a third-world country. The currency rapidly becomes worthless because nobody can exchange it for anything useful, and nobody wants to buy it for that exact reason – it’s just a downward spiral.

    So many people are lying to themselves. Either that, or they’re hoping that enough “positivity” will raise the price enough for them to cash out without such a great loss before the chaos ensues.

    • zauberer

      your post is the perfect definition of FUD.

      • GraveUypo

        it’s funny because btc shot up only a couple of days after that and is threading near an all-time high

        • zauberer

          It doesn’t matter. That doesn’t nullify the fact that his post is FUD. FUDders like this one and other circumstances achieved their goal to push down the price to $1800 about 10 days ago.

  • slipbuck

    Worst case scenario: We have a permanent Fork which is no different than one company splitting into two companies in which you have stock in both. It is not necessarily a bad thing, it could be a good thing.

  • bitfur

    The reverse of downfall coming after upgrade moon Pluto all will be reached

  • joelhfx

    So if both chains continue to run, Will I have coins on both branches? Why on earth wouldn’t they keep running both?

  • NAIJABOY

    it’s bitcoin’s election buh how come the other coins are dropping in value with it? Bitcoin’s dominance is even building. I’m buying more coins albeit any coming F-or-K.

  • Jim Shepard

    Make sure to get control of your private keys. That way when Bitcoin becomes worthless at least you’ll still have them.

  • M W

    Imagine if Bill Gates had allowed Microsoft to split in two all those decades ago! To me it is inconceivable that the technocrats etc would allow such a catastrophe to occur.

  • sjs

    Decentralized control = out of control

  • zauberer

    At last someone who is well informed. Hallellujah!

  • Sjalot

    Just to be sure, I have liquidated virtually all of my Bitcoin portfolio and wait till after August 1 whether to step in again or not. This uncertainty is not good.

    • what if 1 fork survives, now supply has gone down bringing the value up? could be possible no? since we have finite ammount

  • Kosenator

    Divide and conquer. Fork the chain, let one strain die and have the other regulated. You didn’t really expect the World Bank to just sit back while you get your finances un-taxable?

  • Abhinav Singh

    BE OPTIMISTIC…BITCOIN is again going to RISE …and shoot up. Buy more ! Its a strategy of Miners ….to drop down the price take the profit and again Reinvest.
    Nothing is going to happen on 1 Aug, a spread of news made people to sell Bitcoin at lower price. The actual and real miners still have the Bitcoin Holding.
    Buy more to get this advantage of Low price ………Price will shoot up like a Rocket post 25 July. All the Best ..group. Lets make some money …!!

  • Karl B. Hensel

    Do the research people! There is a growing consensus on a resolution that does not involve a hard fork. This is obviously a ploy to start a new coin on the coattail of the Bitcoin name. I hope they are shut down as quick as they popped up. More stupid antics like these just confuse the novice and damage bitcoin reputation. There will always be a small group that wants to rebel and that is fine as long as they are clear on what they are presenting. These miners state that a hard fork is eminent and that is just a bold face lie!!!!!!

  • Karl B. Hensel

    Good for you! 50 more. Thats awesome. I amdoing best tom get another 10th myself. May sell the 1 ETH I own but price fluctuates about the same as bitcoin… Best of luck

  • Nikola Repanovic

    Can anyone explain me is this only going to affect bitcoins safety or it’ll be for all the other cryptocurrencies?