Bitcoin holders should be aware that during and after a fork people can make mistakes when differentiating between the two chains. Alongside the confusion, there’s also a chance that malicious actors posing to be trustworthy may promise people help with access to ‘Bitcoin Cash’ tokens – and steal people’s private keys. The risk of losing bitcoin to errors such as these will be heightened during and after a network fork.
Before and After August 1
On August 1st it’s likely the Bitcoin blockchain will split into two factions as the result of an upcoming “user-activated hard fork”. Essentially this means anyone who possesses keys to bitcoin will have access to the second chain and its associated token called ‘Bitcoin Cash’ (BCC). However, people will still have to wait for software providers, exchanges, wallets, and other third party support to utilize BCC to sell, trade or keep them.
As of right now, a few days before August 1, there are many bitcoin businesses explaining their plans for a possible fork. Some companies plan to deal with both chains, while some will only support the bitcoin (BTC) protocol. Most non-custodial wallets will provide infrastructure for the BCC chain, and there are exchanges that will list it as well. So there will be various methods for people to access the BCC chain and many people are preparing for this event right now.
The Chance of Phony Websites, Spoof Wallets, Phishing Scams Will Be Greater
Unfortunately, during confusing and troubling times, thieves like to use these opportunities to steal from people. So after the fork people should wait for their service provider (wallet/exchange) to announce how customers can deal with their BCC tokens. For instance, Trezor says after the fork they will integrate support for the alternate chain, and it will likely happen with updated firmware. In this case, Trezor users should be 100 percent sure they are accessing this firmware from the official Trezor website and should double check the serial code on the device to be sure it is legitimate.
There will likely be a few instances where malicious actors pretend to be trustworthy businesses or create ‘spoof apps’ so they can steal private keys. Over the past few years, there have been many spoof wallets on the App Store and Google Play that steal keys. Further, some hackers may create phishing sites that are almost identical to online wallets, which could lead to a loss of funds as well.
Backup Everything, Double Check Everything, Don’t Rush, and Just Be Patient
During and after a fork people should take extra precautions if they are trying to gain access to the BCC chain. For good measure, people can double check websites for security certificates, make sure the wallets they download are official, verify firmware, and double check that everything looks legit before entering a seed phrase or sweeping private keys anywhere. Make sure the third party provider is trustworthy and who they say they are because there’s always a risk of foul play.
The bottom line is if the Bitcoin Cash fork happens, the token itself will not exist until after August 1. The likelihood of phony websites offering extraction or splitting tools will be greater. Utilizing the BCC chain will require access to BTC private keys so people should be very careful and patient when trying to extract or move these tokens.
What do you think about the possibility of shady websites and spoof wallets happening after the fork? Let us know in the comments below.
Images via Pixabay, and Twitter.
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