Bitcoin Hard Fork 2017
As we approach the dreaded Bitcoin fork on August 1, investors are getting nervous. “What if the Bitcoin hard fork in 2017 kills the crypto dream?” they ask.
Well, if it was that fragile to begin with, good riddance. Bitcoin is trying to become the first global digital currency! It should be able to weather the storm.
A little resilience goes a long way in the currency game.
Just look at Ethereum, Bitcoin’s nearest rival and heir apparent. It’s undergone several forks, as has Litecoin. So it’s time to put on your big-boy pants, Bitcoin fans, the real world has come knocking.
And the real word is messy. It’s full of disagreements that can’t be resolved overnight. So don’t be surprised if Bitcoin SegWit2X doesn’t pan out the way you thought it would.
There is no guarantee that all Bitcoin core developers will hop on board before August 1, in which case the currency will split. Yes, there will be volatility. Lots of it, in fact.
And yes, Bitcoin’s value might take a hit in the first week.
Bitcoin SegWit2x: Is It Going to Happen?
For those who aren’t familiar with Bitcoin SegWit2x, let’s rewind a little.
Owing to an arbitrary rule in Bitcoin’s source code, the currency is unable to scale effectively. In fact, the blockchain gets so backed up that it sometimes takes hours, even days, to process a transaction.
You don’t need a PhD to see this is a major problem for Bitcoin.
If you can’t send Bitcoin instantly, then it is impractical for daily use. And if you can’t use it for daily payments, then it will never replace fiat money. But the Bitcoin value is based on its potential to disrupt fiat money, so if that dream vanishes…
Also Read: Bitcoin Split: What Is Bitcoin SegWit?
You can see where that road ends. Any past Bitcoin volatility would look like a stroll through the park by comparison. No. Bitcoin needs to maintain the dream of replacing central banks or else its value will disappear overnight.
That is why programmers are desperately trying to fix the scaling issue. Some of them believe the answer is a protocol known as “Segregated Witness,” or “SegWit,” for short.
SegWit was first proposed in December 2015 at a conference in Hong Kong. It is a technical solution that would reduce the size of each “block,” thus speeding up the rate of Bitcoin transactions. A lot of people liked the idea.
Thought leaders like Andreas Antonopoulos immediately got behind the idea, calling it a “turning point” in Bitcoin’s history. Core developers like Greg Maxwell said it could quadruple Bitcoin’s capacity in a “short time frame.”
In other words, it seemed like this idea could work. But Bitcoin is not run by a handful of powerbrokers. It is a collective that requires almost universal agreement before any changes can be made. Almost 100% of developers have to get on board with the idea.
Now it looks like we’re approaching that limit. Bitcoin’s core developers are reluctantly hopping on board, but a small band of holdouts started demanding more. They wanted “SegWit2x.”
This proposal included an additional condition in order to prevent a Bitcoin hard fork in 2017. Now the opponents to SegWit claim that it doesn’t go far enough. They claim (I’m looking at you, Jeff Garzik) that Bitcoin’s source code needs to be amended to increase the block size.
This moving of the goalposts threatens to increase Bitcoin volatility in the short term.
It’s now possible that Bitcoin will achieve SegWit by August 1, but the currency will split anyways. The result would be two competing currencies: Bitcoin and a new token called Bitcoin Cash.
Under such a scenario, Bitcoin volatility will shoot through the roof. I wouldn’t be surprised to see BTC prices drop down to $1,000 if the Bitcoin hard fork goes forward. That said, I would only increase my bullish stance if prices dropped to $1,000. I love buying things on sale.
Will Ethereum Prices Be Volatile?
When investors get skeptical of the entire cryptocurrency market, as they have recently, then Ethereum and Bitcoin are affected in tandem. But when the issue is Bitcoin-specific, as in the case of SegWit2x, I only look for Ethereum prices to skyrocket.
After all, there are a lot of investors that see the genius of blockchain. They know it can change the world, but right now they are just watching the race, betting on which cryptocurrency they think will win the market.
If Bitcoin suffers a misstep, so be it. They’ll rotate their funds to Ethereum. As such, my Ethereum price prediction for September is somewhere in the region of $350.00 to $400.00.
Will Litecoin Prices Get Affected?
Once again, if Bitcoin SegWit2x fails to get enough developers on board, the currency will be split. This split will wreak havoc on Bitcoin prices, but it’ll make Litecoin look incredible by comparison.
Litecoin has already faced the challenges that are plaguing Bitcoin. It managed to activate SegWit in April, proving that it can be done. Plus, transactions are much faster on Litecoin’s network, so consumers might like it even more than Bitcoin.
You can also now buy Litecoin directly from exchanges like Coinbase. There’s no need to buy Bitcoin first and then trade it in for Litecoin, which is how it works for most other cryptocurrencies. That’s another big tailwind for LTC.
So if there is a Bitcoin hard fork in 2017, I might have to readjust my Litecoin price prediction upwards. Right now, it is in the range of $65.00 to $95.00.
And as for my Bitcoin price prediction, well, that depends entirely on August 1.
If SegWit2x is activated, then we’ll see $3,600 to $4,000. If not, then BTC prices will be in the range of $1,000 to $1,200. Only time will tell.