Bitcoin infrastructure must constantly develop and upgrade to deal with the scaling challenges having a wide user base include. To solve the problems such as ever-increasing confirmation times and slow transactions, new software has been developed to give the blockchain the stability and efficiency to handle the needs of investors, individuals, and developers alike. This will create many more opportunities for increased adoption and integration of the cryptocoins, but as with any upgrade to the blockchain, the chance of a new entire blockchain being created is entirely possible.
In this situation, the bitcoin nodes, the computers which confirm your bitcoin transactions, may not be able to communicate with the nodes running the new upgraded software. This means that there would be two separate blockchains running side by side and your transaction could end up on either one, or not be accepted. Overall this update will be rolled down on August 1 3017 at 01:00:00 AM GMT.
In the more likely scenario, the update will be rolled out across the network and transactions can be resumed. But in the meanwhile, even if your bitcoin transactions are being confirmed, they may disappear by August 1, as if some nodes do not work with the new software, your transactions may not be confirmed even if they appear to have confirmations on them.
When dealing with Bitcoin, the general rule remains that if you have possession of your private key you are in complete control of your Bitcoin. So, it follows that during this period, please download and backup your private keys from your wallet. Most popular Bitcoin wallets offers these such as Blockchain.info. In the event your online wallet does become corrupted or unforeseen technical glitches occur, you can import your bitcoins into any other wallet using the private key and the password associated with it.
The network disruption also has the potential to make transactions â€œvoidâ€ in a sense. As with any Bitcoin transaction confirmations are needed to make sure the transaction has been recognized by the nodes in the network. This is due to the network event, which may produce another blockchain. The blockchain is the ledger where every single transaction is recorded and so is central to the Bitcoin network. However, if you do send a transaction from now till 1 August, it may end up on the other chain, and such not be accepted by recipient.
This also applies to business to, so if you accept Bitcoin, you may want to pause Bitcoin payments for the meanwhile. This is primarily to prevent you from making unnecessary losses, as in case of a chain split even if transaction do gain confirmations, it may end up disappearing, leaving you out of pocket. Scammers and unscrupulous individuals will try to take advantage of this situation trying to send double spent transactions, or even offering dangerous software claiming to fix your transactions disguised to hide malware and other dangerous programs.
Please regularly visit BTC.NG to stay up to date with the latest news surrounding the network disruption, as we will update the site with news after the network disruption is over and when it is safe to resume transactions.