Bitcoin miners have signaled their intent to deploy a Bitcoin protocol change called Segwit2x. The final portion of this change is scheduled to occur with block 494,784 in mid-November.
At BitPay, our goal is to provide our customers with the best possible digital payments services. The safety and security of our users is always our top priority. In some cases, protocol changes increase the risk of using the network. When such events occur, we must take precautions to protect our users.
While most miners signaled their support of this protocol change, not all support it. If miners are divided over this change, there is a significant risk of a chain split. If that occurs, BitPay’s services will follow the chain with the most accumulated difficulty.
We will do our best to continue to provide service on the Bitcoin block chain. Unfortunately, absent any further developments, we must recommend that you stop using Bitcoin prior to block 494,784 (allowing time for your transactions to get into a prior block) and until the uncertainty is resolved. We will suspend payment acceptance, payment disbursement and debit card reloads approximately 24 hours prior to activation of Segwit2x. We are currently communicating with all of our affected users with preparation instructions.
If you have a Bitcoin wallet and use Bitcoin during this period of uncertainty, you should assume that there will be a chain split and that any Bitcoin you send will be included in both chains. In addition, any Bitcoin you receive will be at a higher than normal risk of double spend.
In the event of a prolonged or permanent chain split, if the minority chain has significant market value, we will provide instructions to Copay and BitPay wallet users on how to safely access those coins. We will refer to the minority chain as BC1 (if Segwit2x is the majority) or BC2 (if Segwit2x is the minority). Beyond that, we have no plans to offer our services on the minority chain.
BitPay is committed to building the most comprehensive digital payments platform in this ever changing environment. We will resume full support for the Bitcoin block chain as soon as possible after this event.