How We Deal With Blockchain (Hard) Forks – In Light of the Upcoming BCH Hard Fork

Bitcoin Cash fork

In light of the upcoming Bitcoin Cash (BCH) hard fork on November 15th, we want to share how we handle forks at Decentral, and our plan around the decision to suspend transactions for the BCH wallets in Jaxx Legacy and Jaxx Liberty on the day of the fork.

Before we get into how we deal with hard forks, let’s first understand what a hard fork is.

What Is A Hard Fork

A Hard Fork is a blockchain software update (new rules) that, when applied, will override all blockchain activity initiated by earlier versions of said blockchain software.

Blockchain activity on the Bitcoin Cash network mainly consists in mining transactions and all miners handling the transaction data and packing it into blocks run the blockchain software. A hard fork is mainly an update to the software miners run on their computers (e.g. nodes).

There are two types of forks:

  1. Consensual – also known as soft forks, where the update is assumed to be applied by all nodes on the network – e.g. consensus is achieved over the fork
  2. Contentious – also known as a hard fork, where the update has not achieved consensus within the community and the expected consequence will be resulting in two blockchains or more, each following their own rules.

Bitcoin Cash fork

Confusion appears when consensus is not achieved over a fork as this may have some unexpected results. The risks with hard forks may be:

  • Multiple blockchains: Causes confusion for holders of the main coin and raises questions of how to manage the mirrored (forked) coins
  • Replay attacks: Since the software base is the same for any duplicated chains, a malicious party may copy a transaction code from the main chain and send it (re-play it) on a mirrored chain, thus creating unwanted results for the owner
  • Temporary transaction suspension: As a best practice, many exchanges and wallet providers will be stopping the users’ ability to transact a certain coin until the fork is applied and the resulted blockchain(s) are working safely. This is one of the best measures to stop replay attacks.

How We’re Handling Forks

A look at the details of the fork to understand the impact it will have on our users:

  • On November 15th, a contentious Hard fork will occur.
  • There are currently three major implementation proposals for the Bitcoin Cash network: Bitcoin ABC, Bitcoin Unlimited, and Bitcoin SV
    1. Bitcoin ABC will add new features such as smart contract abilities, oracle services, and scaling improvements to the Bitcoin Cash network;
    2. Bitcoin Unlimited will implement both changes of Bitcoin ABC and Bitcoin SV enabling miners to vote for the features they want;
    3. Bitcoin SV will replace Bitcoin ABC’s scripts with its own and expand Bitcoin Cash’s block size from its current 32MB to a maximum size of 128MB.

Actions We Will Take

  • Stop Jaxx users ability to transact Bitcoin Cash through the Jaxx wallet for approximately 24h around the fork. The timeframe may change depending on the outcome of the fork.
  • We will start this a few hours before the expected time, until the dust settles, so we can plan the next action. All users digital assets are safe during this process. 
  • Issue warnings to our users via our communication channels (blog, Social media, in-app bulletins)
  • Enable the Bitcoin Cash service when we believe it is safe for our users. We plan to support the chain that has the most hashpower following the fork. At this time, we do not plan to support any of the additional chains.
  • Ensure our servers and apps are updated with the needed upgrades to support the fork
  • If major backend updates are required, transacting Bitcoin Cash following this fork may not be available in Jaxx Legacy and only be available in the new Jaxx Liberty. At that point we may ask all our Jaxx Legacy users to migrate over to the new Jaxx Liberty, a process that takes less than two minutes.

Alternative Options

With Jaxx Legacy and Jaxx Liberty, we strive to empower our users to have full control of their digital life. This means that there are options available for all our users in case they don’t agree with the actions we will take during the Bitcoin Cash fork or any other future forks.

  • You can send all your Bitcoin Cash out of Jaxx Legacy and Jaxx Liberty wallet before the fork happens.
  • Since we follow a standard protocol in the industry for the security information (BIP 39), any of our users can choose to import their wallet into any other third party wallet that supports the fork.
  • At all times you have full access to your wallet security information: wallet seed  (Jaxx Legacy and Jaxx Liberty) and private keys (Legacy and Jaxx Liberty)

Remain vigilant! There will be many attempts online trying to persuade Jaxx Legacy and Jaxx Liberty users into claiming their forked coins and asking for the wallet backup phrase or the private keys of your Bitcoin Cash address. DO NOT share any of your wallet’s security information with anyone unless you want them to have full access to your digital assets on all blockchains.