Bitcoin is to go through an historical August 1st when the currency splits into two coins, Bitcoin Cash (BCC) and Bitcoin Core, which is to retain the bitcoin brand and BTC ticker for now.
A futures market has already opened on ViaBTC where the currency is trading at $516, with OKCoin stating they will list it for trading too. Other exchanges will likely follow, while Coinbase uniquely angers both small blockers and big blockers after stating they will not allow them to withdraw their Bitcoin Cash.
Hopefully, their united anger is the first step in bringing a more amicable spirit between the two sides as they decide to go their own way, work on their own project and focus on their own vision. But how will the price action in one coin affect the other?
The closest example we have is the ETH and ETC split last year. The combined value of both currencies was higher immediately after the fork, with ethereum then proceeding to great new heights, while ETC currently has around the same value as ETH had back then.
However, when ETC was first listed, the relationship between the two was inversely correlated, with ethereum falling as ETC rose and vice versa while the market was deciding which is to be the dominant coin, then settling with the two currencies going their own way.
Another likely reason was probably because all ethereum holders gained an equal amount of ETH and ETC. As such, they probably sold one and bought the other based on their value judgment.
The same may happen in bitcoin, but there are many differences. Firstly, the ETH coin had the support of some 80%-90% of ethereum’s community, the backing of almost all its developers, and the support of nearly all eth based projects.
In bitcoin, all of the above three aspects are more split. Big Blocks used to have some 80% support based on unscientific polls, but an actual impartial and well-known token holders vote has not taken place.
The developers are of course a lot more split in bitcoin than they were in eth, as likely are bitcoin businesses, while overall there is some confusion around segwit2x, especially the 2x part.
The second aspect is the fact that the eth split was both more controversial and less. Less because much of the community was united and more because some saw it as breaching a principle.
While in bitcoin, although the issue is clearly controversial, it is of a different nature. Rather than principles, on which both sides agree, the debate was more about how best to achieve those principles and aims, with the difference of opinion going back many years.
The final aspect is that no one really thought ETC would be a thing and it wasn’t for a few days after the hardfork until Poloniex went back on their public words and listed it.
That took everyone by surprise. Thus unleashing some chaos and earning Poloniex the wrath of ethereans who hardly mention the exchange nowadays without murmuring something.
In bitcoin, it is now clear the split will happen as it has both miners support and a trading market, but with the mass media telling everyone a split has been averted, there may nonetheless be an element of surprise for many who may wake up on August 1st to find out they suddenly have this thing called Bitcoin Cash.
So there may be some trading frenzy and volatility on August 1st, but the market will probably value the split, not least because it gives it more choice. Thus the combined value of the two coins may be higher.
How long that would last is unclear. With the uncertainty somewhat ended and bitcoin finally reaching a solution to the scalability debate, optimism may return among old bitcoiners as well as new, which may act as fuel.
But the reverse needs to be considered too as the high volatility may send investors into fiat or into ethereum, at least for a short period, but that did not happen with eth last year until some harmless bugs were exploited, probably to make a political point following the split, which sent both eth and ETC into a cold winter.
Before that exploit, the Ethereum community turned bullish after the fork and price rallied, as did ETC, so bears and bulls may have plenty to fight over on August 1st.
How the split will affect ethereum is an even more difficult question. Firstly, ethereum has its own ecosystem as well as different capabilities through smart contracts, so it can be complementary, but it attracted many big blockers after the stalemate, who may now diversify to BCC, so holding both coins.
Alternatively, if there is any uncertainty in bitcoin, investors may find safer heaven in eth, waiting it out, so the currency may rise, or might completely ignore it continuing its consolidation in a sideways price movement.
Which of the above scenarios will come to pass only the first week of August can say, but one thing we do know is that bitcoin and the entire digital currencies space is going through one of its most exciting period as the currency shows its ultimate power and its very real decentralized nature.