Futures trading of segwit2x has begun at Bitfinex where around 400 bitcoins, worth some $2 million, have been exchanged in the past 24 hours.
Trading was and remains volatile, with segwit2x reaching a high of $2,745, before sharply dropping to $400, to then stabilize to around $1,350, before another local high of $1,800 was seen.
A corresponding futures market representing current bitcoin was also opened under the ticker of BT1. It saw lower trading volumes, but very high volatility.
BT1 reached a high of around $4,000, falling to a low of around $2,300, with little relative stability seen at this point while it currently trades at around $2,700 at the time of writing.
Bitfinex opened a futures market this morning at 6am London time, announcing anyone who wishes can now split their BTC into two tokens called BT1, representing current BTC, and BT2, representing Segwit2x. The exchange says:
“The BTC will be debited from your account and an equivalent amount of BT1 and BT2 will be credited. Users will also be able to reverse this process at any time, trading in equal numbers of BT1 and BT2 to extract BTC.”
Some have criticized the design of the futures market based on the fact that BT2 tokens would sort of vanish if there is no hardfork, while the BT1 tokens would be converted into BTC.
Critics say either both tokens should be refunded or neither token, but the exchange does allow everyone to convert their tokens back into BTC at any time, as they say traders will be able to “reverse this process at any time, trading in equal numbers of BT1 and BT2 to extract BTC.”
Segwit2x is a new proposed upgrade of the bitcoin network reached after an agreement of almost all prominent bitcoin businesses and miners to bridge the divide between big blockers and small blockers by implementing segregated witnesses (segwit) followed by a 2MB increase of the base blocksize.
In line with that agreement, after nearly a year of stalemate due to miners being split in half between those that supported and opposed segwit, 95% and then 100% of miners started running the segwit code.
The bitcoin network was upgraded with segwit on August 24th. Prior to that upgrade, a faction of bitcoin’s community split, creating a minority coin called Bitcoin Cash. That rose to a market cap of nearly $10 billion, while bitcoin also rose to a market cap of $73 billion with a current price of $4,400.
Once segwit went live, some bitcoin developers began loudly arguing against the 2x part of the agreement. Tensions have further increased this week with charged language of “enemies” used.
While in coding aspects the developers of the two teams are engaged in a Core Wars of sorts, with clients locked out and camouflaged.
Some 90% of miners continue to signal agreement with the 2x part. It’s implementation will be through a flag-day hardfork, which is to occur around November 17th.
Being a flag-day, whereby the fork is triggered at a block number regardless of any other consideration, there is little doubt that the fork will happen. What is in question is just how many will upgrade, whether there will be a chain-split with a new currency formed, and if so, what the relative price of the two currencies would be.
Regarding the latter, futures markets have given some rough indication in the past, but that market has just opened. Likewise, it remains too early to say whether a new currency will be formed or what level of support there may be for the additional upgrade of bitcoin’s capacity.