It seems that on August 1st, there will be a hard fork on Bitcoin. This will mean that instead of 1 coin we will end up with 2.

Without going into the discussion about whether it will or not occur.

What happens if I had, 10 Bitcoins before, will I have 10 bitcoinsA and 10 bitcoinsB?

Does this depend exclusively on the exchange I am with? What if my bitcoins are on a paper wallet? How does this aspect work?

  • 1
    Please note that with the announcement of 'Bitcoin Cash' this week, it seems indeed likely that a hardfork will occur.
    – Murch
    Commented Jul 18, 2017 at 16:15

3 Answers 3


Technically, the UASF that will go live on August 1st isn't a hardfork (see What is the User Activated Softfork (UASF) proposal? How do its risks compare to hardforks?), but it may have still have a chainsplit.

When there is lack of consensus about the rules in the bitcoin network, there may be multiple blockchains, one blockchain following one set of rules, one following another. These two chains share the beginning of their chains, but there is a distinct point in time where they diverge. If the transaction where you received bitcoins happened before that point in time where they diverged, then your coins will be in both chains, so no matter which one is eventually selected, you'll be on the 'winning' side.

I should note that a chain split isn't necessarily ever resolved. There might be two ecosystems and networks that build around 2 different chains. In this case, your pre-split coins are available on both chains, and you could even spend them twice, once with one merchant on one side of the chain split and once with another merchant who is on the other side of the chain split!

The risk mainly comes in when you make transactions after a chain split. For example, if you are a merchant and you accept coins on side A of the chain split, but that transaction doesn't also get included on the other chain (side B), then sometime later the network gets back to consensus that chain B is the correct chain, then your coins on chain A are worthless. So it is risky to accept payment while the network lacks consensus.

  • Note that with the announcement of "Bitcoin Cash" this week, it seems likely that there will indeed be a hard fork.
    – Murch
    Commented Jul 18, 2017 at 16:15

The safest bet for your Bitcoin if you hold onto them would be to store them on a cold wallet (i.e. hardware such as Trezor, Ledger, USB or just a paper wallet). This then guarantee's you both CoinA and CoinB if there happened to be a hard fork (chain split) as your private keys will still be stored on both of those chains immutably.

As is always the case with Bitcoin "Not your private key, not your Bitcoin" and if you held your coins on an exchange or online wallet you don't hold your private key and these entities may have differing terms to currently if a new coin were to appear on the scene. Not only may they choose to have different terms but may also unknowingly have bugs with regards to a new coin software. If two coins do result you may then wait and see which exchanges support both coins and use them to exchange your two types of coins as you will.


Yeah, so online wallets like Coinbase are apparently going to let you have your Bitcoin A, but they are going to keep Bitcoin B under the guise of "not supporting" blah blah blah.

Its a scam and a cash grab. I smell a class-action brewing if a fork occurs.

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