The SegWit2x hard fork is drawing closer by the day. Within little over two weeks after the publication of this article, a group of Bitcoin companies and miners plans to double Bitcoin’s block weight limit as per the New York Agreement.
But it currently seems certain that not everyone will adopt this incompatible protocol change. As such, the SegWit2x fork would result in two different blockchains and two different currencies. For the purpose of this article, these two blockchains will be referred to as the “original chain” and the “SegWit2x chain,” with their respective coins.
The big question, right now, is which of these two blockchains would be considered the “real” Bitcoin, with the currency ticker “BTC.” Since no single individual or entity is really in charge of this decision, Bitcoin exchanges play a major role: they list the currencies that are traded under specific names.
To find out which coin is likely to earn the ticker “BTC,” here’s an overview of the 20 largest Bitcoin exchanges based on trading volume according to data from Bitcoinity, and their stance on this naming issue.
1. Bitfinex: original chain is “BTC”, SegWit2x chain is “B2X”
Hong Kong–based cryptocurrency exchange Bitfinex is the largest Bitcoin exchange in the world by trading volume.
Interestingly, Bitfinex also offers a futures exchange, on which claims on the future versions of the coins on both chains are already traded. These futures are currently labeled as “BT1” for coins on the original chain, and “BT2” for coins on the SegWit2x chain.
In Bitfinex’s announcement of these futures, published on October 5, as well as the accompanying terms and conditions, the exchange also reveals that “the order books for the BT2 trading pairs will become the order books for the B2X pairs.” Meanwhile, the BT1 futures will be settled into BTC.
In other words, the coins on the original chain will be listed as “BTC”, while the coins on the SegWit2x chain will be called “B2X.”
2. BitMEX: original chain is “BTC”
BitMEX, a cryptocurrency exchange officially based in the Republic of Seychelles, is the second-largest Bitcoin exchange in the world based on trading volume.
In a blog post published on October 13, BitMEX announced it would continue to list coins on the original chain as “BTC.”
Moreover, because SegWit2x will not implement strong replay protection, BitMEX will not list coins on the SegWit2x chain at all, nor offer any other type of support.
3. Bitstamp: unknown
Bitstamp, which is officially based in the United Kingdom but operates from several European countries, has not yet made any public statements concerning the SegWit2x fork. The exchange also did not respond to inquiries from Bitcoin Magazine.
Bitstamp did sign a hard fork statement insisting on consensus and strong replay protection for hard forks earlier this year, though that statement referred to a potential Bitcoin Unlimited hard fork — not SegWit2x.
4. GDAX: hash power decides which chain is “BTC”
U.S.-based cryptocurrency exchange GDAX is effectively the exchange-arm of Coinbase. And Coinbase is a signatory of the New York Agreement.
Regardless, it’s not certain that Coinbase (and therefore probably also GDAX) will list coins on the SegWit2x chain as “BTC.” In fact, the company could well list the coins on the original chain as “BTC” — but public statements have been somewhat contradictory.
The company initially put out a statement saying that the coins on the original chain would be listed as “BTC,” and the coins on the SegWit2x chain as “B2X.” However, this initial statement was effectively withdrawn the very next day, as the company put out a new statement “clarifying” that Coinbase will actually list the coins with the most accumulated hash power backing it as “BTC.” And on Twitter, company CEO Brian Armstrong suggested that it’s not just hash power but also market cap that will decide which coin will be listed as “BTC.”
5. bitFlyer: unknown
bitFlyer is the biggest Bitcoin exchange in Japan.
bitFlyer is also a signatory of the New York Agreement in support of the SegWit2x hard fork, which suggests that the exchange will at least support the coin on the SegWit2x chain. bitFlyer has not yet made any public statements concerning the naming of the coin(s), however, and did not respond to inquiries from Bitcoin Magazine.
6. Kraken: unknown
U.S.-based Bitcoin and cryptocurrency exchange Kraken has not yet made any public statements concerning the SegWit2x fork, either.
In response to inquiries from Bitcoin Magazine, the exchange also refrained from commenting on the naming issue and instead stated:
“Kraken makes no promises/guarantees/warranties on the outcome of the fork. We will make our best effort to handle things in a way that benefits the most clients, but clients should manage their own wallets/coins if they want perfect control.”