It has been three days since the Bitcoin blockchain split. This has resulted into the birth of a new currency called the Bitcoin Cash (BTC). This is a bonus for Bitcoin holders. Every bitcoin holder will get one BTC for every bitcoin held thanks to the split. BTC has already become a volatile cryptocurrency. It traded at a high of $727 on Wednesday but has since seen a fall of 50 percent.
After the split, two of the largest exchanges-Coinbase and GDAX-said they will not support the new currency. However, since then, they retracted the statement and have decided to support Bitcoin Cash from January 2018 due to pressure from bitcoin holders and traders. These exchanges have promised investors that they will store the BTC tokens safely, and customers will be allowed to withdraw the currency but they will not be allowed to trade currently.
So far, Indian Bitcoin exchanges have not given an official statement. But it is likely they will follow their international counterparts. There is a worry amongst Indians that the exchanges here will not pass on the new currency to them. "It is important to note that the BTC will be available to all the customers who have been holding bitcoins before. Nobody is going to take away BTC away from the users", Praveen Kumar, CEO, Belfrics Global, a digital asset exchange in India, told Forbes India.
As it stands, using the same key to claim (and possibly, later trade) bitcoin cash with the same key, could raise the chance of the private key being compromised. This is because, you may accidentally trade bitcoins instead of BTC, as this Bitcoin Magazine explains. To keep this at a minimum, exchanges around the world will take some time to build the technology. However, it is imperative the technology upgrade for BTC is developed as early as possible as the value of the new currency is very volatile. If the price of BTC falls by January 2018 then investors will lose a lot of money.
Indian exchanges initially followed up with the statements of the leading exchanges across the world and stated that they will not support BTC. This led to a backlash from investors, especially when they saw that the price of the BTC had started to climb. There was a blog on Medium which heavily blamed the Indian Bitcoin exchanges in India for running a BTC scam.
The anonymous blog titled 'How Indian bitcoin exchanges are scamming people' states that the exchanges do not want to support the new currency, and investors who want access to BTC would have to move the bitcoins to a different wallet where the users can control the BTC.
Indian exchanges have decided to support BTC from January 2018. "There are security issues right now. So we cannot allow BTC. But we are now working overtime and we will also start giving support to BTC from January 2018", said a senior manager from a leading bitcoin exchange in India.
The bitcoin exchanges here have not made any official statement that customers can withdraw BTCs anytime. Nor have they said that they are storing the customers BTC safely, to withdraw it later.
"A lot of things depend on what the exchanges want to do with BTC. Some may allow customers to withdraw BTC or safely store the currency and others might not. But mostly, exchanges will follow what the leading exchanges are doing across the world," Kumar added. He says security is of prime concern.
The thoughts and opinions shared here are of the author.
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