Kudos to the spartans, but just for this post, let’s try to forget sides and analyze the possible outcomes and strategies as coldly as we can. As a small actor I will aim for safety; I do not want to lose my savings. I am not an expert, so I wanted to expose my ideas here to have your input. Thank you for being constructive, don’t feed the trolls. These are my thoughts so far.
Firstly, THE MOST IMPORTANT ADVICE:
1) If you want to hold your bitcoins through the turbulent times coming, you MUST put them in a safe wallet. A safe wallet is any software or hardware wallet that you control the keys to, and that officially supports BIP 148. Some things to consider here:
- By support I mean technical support, not political support. Any serious business holding bitcoins for clients should be able to maintain both chains if a split happens. Otherwise they are exposing their business to serious liabilities and expensive lawsuits.
- Controlling the keys leaves out exchanges and online wallets. Bring home all those coins that you have lying around. Don’t be cheap; pay the high fee and avoid yourself some headaches.
- If you want to support UASF politically, start pressing your service providers to state their position or at least to provide a contingency plan. What will they do if there is a chain split?. They owe that information to their customers.
2) If you don’t understand the risks, avoid transacting bitcoin in the last days of July and later, until the dust settles.
No chain split. BIP 148 gets momentum and Segwit opposers surrender. This is my preferred scenario. UASF gains momentum until it tips over and miners surrender. It could be that several major exchanges announce they will list BIP148 as BTC and give the legacy chain another ticket. That would mean war its over because some miners would follow the money immediately. We get Segwit and the least turmoil. Most users won't even know that something happened. To the moon and beyond!
Chain split. Miners don’t give in and we end up with two chains. This will cause confusion, a drop in value and damage to the bitcoin brand. It will become worse as time passes with no solution. The only solution to this war at this time is "one of the sides wins” No room for compromises is left. Owners of bitcoin (who followed the advice above) will have coins in both chains.
Let's talk some more about number 2. For now we can call the two chains the legacy chain and the BIP148 chain (I hope that someone comes up with better names)
The legacy chain will have a lot of hashing power and will be effectively controlled by big miners. Being more centralized (monopolized) high fees are probable in the long term. Its development will be slow while waiting for the “Siebert code”.
|Hash power, big money, politically organized, the Bitcoin brand if the exchanges don’t take sides, (state backed?)||Worse product, worse technical resources, worse codebase, time plays against, it can’t win fast.|
The BIP148 chain will have a much better technology from the start. Segregated Witness and Lightning Network are already tested and working. Unfortunately, until it wins, it will be little more than Litecoin is now. It also has most of the Core developers behind, at least at the beginning.
|Better product (feature wise), better underlying tech, already in the market, time plays for, core team in its side, non trivial amount of grassroots support, it can win by a landslide.||Less organized politically, less economic resources, less hash power, lesser brand (again the exchanges have a say here)|
The end of the war (checkmate):
For the legacy chain to win, the BIP148 chain has to vanish, its value drop to almost zero and have very few users transacting. Or to deploy a hard fork that avoids being reorganized within the BIP148 chain. None of these is likely to happen quickly. They cannot rush it because then hackers will have fun exploiting vulnerabilities. This means a several months timeframe at the least.
The BIP148 chain can win by economic actors aligning at its side at any time. This can happen slowly or incredibly fast (in a matter of hours) The best outcome is that it does it fast.
As long as the BIP148 chain is not dead (very dead), the legacy chain is at risk. To be safe, you should never put all of your eggs in one basket (this works for both chains) Also the legacy chain has more risk to it being successfully attacked by hackers.
I cannot predict the outcome of this war although I think that the odds favor the BIP148 side. At least 10% of the users are strongly opinionated and will support BIP148 to the end. So at the least there will be a minority chain listed as an alt coin. The transactions could be very slow for weeks or even months, but functioning nevertheless. Even if everyone wants to dump their BIP148 coins, they have to transact to do it, so there will be money to be made by mining those transactions. Someone will mine them and a virtuous circle could form at any time.
Anyway, I prefer not to speculate. This purpose of this post is to find the best strategy to keep my money safe.
1) Split is avoided. Bitcoin gains $1000 in minutes, and another $2500 in the following days.
2) UASF wins fast. Turmoil and confusion but soon BIP148 coins gain value and legacy coins value drop to zero.
3) Long war. Bitcoin value drops a lot. Brand is damaged. Outcome uncertain. Everybody loses.
What should I do?
I see some possible paths to take before August the first. You could use a mix of them, depending on your circumstances and preferences.
- To hold bitcoin (do it safely) Best strategy if 1 or 2 happen.
- To buy altcoin. Very risky if you don’t know where the smart money will go. Most alt coins’ value is correlated to Bitcoin value. Act rationally and don’t gamble money you can’t afford to lose. That said, probably there will be opportunity for quick gains here.
- To go fiat. The safest route is to step aside and see the war from the trenches. You could miss some upwards action but you will be hedged against severe drops in price. My advice is to reserve in fiat as much as you would want to save if a catastrophe happens.
- To set some resources (fiat probably) aside to buy cheap coins if opportunity arises.
After discussing this with you I will make up my mind and prepare myself for the bumpy ride. When I feel prepared, I will relax and make popcorn.