Markets wait with trepidation as Bitcoin Cash fork nears; Bitcoin price hit another 2018 low

With the Bitcoin Cash fork due imminently, markets are jittery regarding which of the two versions of the Bitcoin Cash protocol will prevail. 

According to the ticker at BTC.com, the highly acrimonious fork of the Bitcoin Cash protocol should happen at roughly 5.40 GMT – or whenever six blocks are mined after the procedure started at 4.40pm.

With a jittery market failing to recover from yesterday’s big drops around this time, the afternoon’s trading has seen Bitcoin hit another year low, briefly dipping down to the $5,300 mark before rallying to stand – at the time of writing – at $5,599.

For at least the next hour or two, though, all eyes will be on Bitcoin Cash, and the upcoming upgrade – that will see two competing protocols split the currency, with plenty of potential for conflict between the two should one try to take control of the blockchain completely. We covered some of the option in feature last night, including the potential fallout any such Hash War could have on the wider cryptocurrency ecosystem.

At the moment, the Bitcoin ABC (BCH) incarnation appears to be the more popular choice, trading via the Poloniex exchange currently sees it trading at around $260, with Bitcoin SV sitting at around $95 at present. ABC also appears to have the support of the majority of the nodes right now – though, as we’ve reported – that may not be enough if the Bitcoin SV team make good on their promises to attack the opposition, should they not get the outcome they want by attempting to 51% attack the blockchain and force Bitcoin ABC to shut down.

What’s interesting, however, when looking at to the Poloniex exchange page for Bitcoin ABC is the wide spread on the order book. This hints at the fact that the markets are far from sure how this is going to work out. The vast majority of sells are at a price much higher than at present, while the buys are heavily stacked at the low-end; so people are looking to make big profits – but see the investment at extremely high risk.

This will all play out live starting very soon, and we’ll be around to update how things are going shortly.