Top Crypto Hardware Wallet Provider Ledger to Pause Bitcoin Cash (BCH) Services on November 15


War is hell, business is war; you see where this thought is going. On the 15th of this month, Bitcoin Cash (BCH) has a hard fork scheduled. And neither development teams are playing nice, with rules that are anything but aligned.

Therefore to proactively protect their customer base, Ledger, a popular French hardware wallet manufacturer has decided on its contingency plans. They will be stopping all bitcoin cash services from November 15. This state shall continue till the time a clearly dominant chain appears, after which the BCH services will be reinstated.

What Ledger says about the plan during the fork

In about two weeks the Bitcoin Cash network will face a hard fork and with two different visions for the upgrade, but no consensus on the rule sets, it is making many nervous; with good reason. This internal squabble could effectively mean that there could be a chain split, due to the warring factions Bitcoin ABC and Bitcoin SV. These conflicting proposals are no closer to a solution and neither have replay protection.

Taking this into consideration, Ledger has taken the safer route and decided that they would pause all bitcoin cash transactions.

In an official statement that the company released, they stated

“Ledger will suspend the Bitcoin Cash service until it is clear which of these chains will be the stable one, both technically and economically — The reason for closing the service during this time is to prevent unwanted transactions (resulting from “replay attacks”), causing possible loss of funds and other potential issues interacting with Bitcoin Cash during this period of time.”

They further went on to reassure their customers in a blog post

“Depending on the outcome of the fork, we will communicate about our next move when we have a clearer vision of its result — Be advised that during this service disruption, your Bitcoin Cash private keys will remain secured.”

Why all this concern and contingency plans

The service provider has already notified its customers about the “watch and see” plan of action. They intend to watch the fork unfold and once the integrity of both chains has been evaluated, decide on their next course of action.

All this, the company says, will be completely transparent and the users will be able to follow this and check for Bitcoin Cash networks restoration on Ledger’s status page. They have however offered the ability to use the wallet system in conjunction with an Electron Cash supporting wallet to allow their customers to still make transactions; albeit at their own risk.

As of the 3rd of November, both Bitcoin ABC and Bitcoin SV are at loggerheads with each other in relation to consensus changes. To add to the anxiety, both teams have not yet added any replay protection and there is concern that they will very likely not add the said protocol.

This may lead to a state of what some call a ‘hash war’, a state where the longest chain with the most proof-of-work will essentially be considered Bitcoin Cash. Invariably, this will mean that the other offshoot will likely fail and “die”.

Another cause of concern is that Bitcoin cash uses the concept of Unspent Transaction Outputs (UTXO). If a split occurs without the replay protection, both chains will be identical to each other. This will create a situation where it would be possible to replay the UTXOs on these new networks when sending a transaction just after the split.

This possibility of replay attacks will cause financial losses in case of any network mistakes or, more seriously, malicious intent of an attacker who is able to reuse the data on one or both the chains.

It is expected that the next few days will see a flurry of activities from other exchanges and wallet providers. Due to the same concerns, one would expect most, if not all, will outline some sort of a plan of action for BCH transactions until there are calmer waters.

It seems the industry has learned its lessons from the past. The announcement from Ledger follows closely at the heels of two other exchanges who have already announced their contingency plans this fork. Trading platforms Bitasiaex and Coinex, the others to advise their users of the impending fork.

Coinex will do a snapshot of all BCH assets and the customers will be given a one is to one split if a bifurcation does occur during the fork. Bitasiaex intends to follow suit and will be monitoring the fork to give the chain “with the most proof-of-work the BCH ticker.” Just when there were signs of a patch-up between the Ethereum factions it seems there is trouble in other parts of the cyptoverse.

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