Update August 3, 2017: Update for customers with bitcoin stored on Coinbase.
Please do not send or deposit bitcoin cash (BCC) to Coinbase.
What is a “fork”?
A “fork” is a change to the software of the digital currency that creates two separate versions of the blockchain with a shared history.
Forks can be temporary, lasting for a few minutes, or can be a permanent split in the network creating two separate versions of the blockchain. When this happens, two different digital currencies are also created.
Why are changes made to digital currency protocols like Bitcoin and Ethereum?
Coinbase currently supports 3 digital currencies — Bitcoin, Ethereum and Litecoin. Each of these digital currencies use open-source software protocols with independent development teams responsible for changes and improvements to the network, much in the same way that changes to internet protocols allow web browsing to become better over time.
Our mission is to create an open financial system for the world and we believe digital currencies will be fundamental in achieving this mission. However, many of these digital currencies are still in early development. Making improvements to the software — such as the number of transactions the network can support — is crucial to creating finance 2.0.
Why do forks happen?
There are a few reasons why a fork can happen. For example, when a change is proposed to a digital currency protocol, users need to show their support for the new version and upgrade — in a similar way to people regularly update applications on their computer. In order for these changes to get approved many people need to agree, just as changes to cellphone networks require many phone companies to agree.
What is Bitcoin Cash?
On August 1st, 2017 there is a proposal to make changes to the bitcoin software. This proposal, known as Bitcoin Cash, is likely to create a “fork” in the Bitcoin network. This means that after August 1st, 2017 there are likely to be two versions of the Bitcoin blockchain and two separate digital currencies.
When will the Bitcoin Cash fork happen?
The fork is scheduled to activate on approximately August 1, 2017.
If I leave my BTC in Coinbase during the fork, will my BTC turn into the new version (BCC), or stay as the old version (BTC)?
The fork will not alter any customer funds which are stored in Coinbase. It will create a new, separate version of Bitcoin in addition to the original version.
Coinbase will not support the BCC blockchain or digital currency. Any bitcoin within customers’ accounts will remain accessible on the main blockchain only. If you wish to have access to both BTC and BCC, please be sure to send your BTC off the platform by July 31.
Do I need to withdraw my BTC from Coinbase?
If you do not wish to access Bitcoin Cash (BCC) then no action is required.
Coinbase will only provide access to the current version of Bitcoin we support (BTC). Customers will not have access to, or be able to withdraw, Bitcoin Cash (BCC).
Customers who wish to access both Bitcoin (BTC) and Bitcoin Cash (BCC) need to withdraw bitcoin stored on Coinbase before 11:59 pm PT July 31, 2017.
Is there any risk to simply leaving my BTC in Coinbase during this event?
No, there is no risk to your existing funds. Leaving BTC in your Coinbase wallet will not change anything about your BTC.
Does this affect funds stored on GDAX as well?
Yes, this affects BTC stored on both Coinbase and GDAX.
Will Coinbase eventually support withdrawals for Bitcoin Cash (BCC)?
We do not plan to offer support for the forked blockchain at this time. You will not be able to withdraw the BCC version of any bitcoin from Coinbase. Although we have no plans to support additional blockchains at this time, we will continue to monitor Bitcoin network developments.
Will Coinbase keep BCC coins for itself?
Coinbase does not intend to support or interact with the new blockchain in any way. If this were to change, Coinbase would make those coins available for customers to withdraw, not keep them.
Can you recommend which wallet software I should use if I want to withdraw my Bitcoin?
While we cannot recommend any particular third-party wallet, a helpful list of wallet options is available here: https://bitcoin.org/en/choose-your-wallet