A minority of Bitcoin miners will be forking on August 1st, 2017 to create a new chain called Bitcoin Cash. The fork does not impact Bitcoin balances, but it creates a new token. At the time of the fork, all Bitcoin addresses holding a balance will automatically have equivalent balances in Bitcoin Cash.
There has been a variety of responses by the community about how to handle this new token. After a significant show of interest from our customers, we have decided to take steps to facilitate the distribution of Bitcoin Cash balances to those holding a settled Bitcoin balance on Bitfinex. We may also list markets for this new token, but that decision will be made after the fork event.
Although we see this token referred to as BCC on other platforms, unfortunately, that ticker symbol is already in use on our platform by the chain-split token representing Bitcoin Core. As such, we plan to use BCH as the ticker symbol and “Bcash” as the descriptive name to avoid confusion with Bitcoin.
Although several months ago, we developed a methodology for handling contentious hardforks, we will be applying a different methodology for what we regard as a spurious forking of the Bitcoin project with little mining support. Although we have not supported such Bitcoin UTXO-based distributions in the past (Stellar Lumens, Clams, etc.), we will support the distribution of Bitcoin Cash due to significant customer interest.
BCH will be distributed to settled bitcoin wallet balances as of the UTC timestamp of the first forking block, which is expected to occur on August 1st, 2017.
The token distribution methodology will be:
Due to the net amount of BTC committed in margin positions at the time of the fork, the above methodology may result in Bitfinex seeing a surplus or deficit of BCH. As such, we will be resolving this discrepancy in the form of a socialized distribution coefficient. For example, currently, there are more longs than shorts on the platform, causing a distribution coefficient of ~1.091 (Meaning that for each qualifying BTC a user will receive 1.091 BCH). The actual coefficient will be calculated at the moment of the distribution. Please note that if there are more shorts than longs at the fork event, this coefficient will be less than one. This coefficient can be roughly computed from publicly available information from our API (longs & shorts) and the Blockchain (cold storage).
We recognize that this model is not perfect, but given the short time frames imposed upon us, better choices are not available. It would be an undue burden to create negative BCH balances for BTC/USD shorts and XXX/BTC longs. Furthermore, lenders may be locked in for up to 30 days and would be adversely impacted. In the end, we believe that this solution creates the least amount of disruption and facilitates a timely distribution of BCH.
Margin longs who wish to receive BCH should consider either claiming some or all of their position or exchanging and holding BTC collateral in their margin wallet as opposed to other assets. We hope to make withdrawals available soon after the fork, assuming everything is fine with the BCH blockchain.
Once again we want to reassure our customers that your bitcoin is safe and this event will not affect your bitcoin balances, positions, or loans - you will simply be receiving an additional token balance based upon the aforementioned methodology.