Site Admin
Apr 2017
Statement regarding Bitcoin Cash and Electrum

Electrum is a Bitcoin wallet created by Thomas Voegtlin in 2011. Electrum is distributed by Electrum Technologies GmbH, a company registered in Germany, using the website -

Multiple Chain Validation

Electrum is a SPV wallet, which means that it verifies and stores a sequence of block headers sent by the Bitcoin network, and uses these headers to verify that transactions are in the Bitcoin blockchain.

A new feature in Electrum 2.9 is Multiple Chain Validation (MCV). Instead of validating a single sequence of block headers, Electrum 2.9 validates a tree of headers, sent by Electrum servers that may follow different branches of a fork in the Bitcoin blockchain.

The purpose of MCV is to detect blockchain forks that would otherwise be invisible to the classical SPV model, and to let users choose between branches of such a fork. In particular, this feature has been designed to deal with the BIP148 soft fork, or the Segwit2x block size increase.

However, 'Multiple Chain Validation' still includes 'Validation'. In particular, it assumes that both branches of a fork are valid from the perspective of a SPV wallet, because they both follow the Bitcoin rules.

Bitcoin Cash (BCC) is a hard fork that changes the difficulty rules of Bitcoin. Therefore, SPV wallets written for Bitcoin will reject the block headers of a BCC fork, and so will Electrum. This means that Electrum will reject block headers sent by Electrum server running Bitcoin Cash, and that users will not be able to send and receive BCC using Electrum.

Would it be possible to add support for Bitcoin Cash in Electrum?

It would be possible to support BCC in Electrum, by modifying the difficulty rules we use for block headers validation, and the transaction creation rules. There are already forks of Electrum doing that.

However, the headers validation rules of BCC are strictly less secure than those of Bitcoin. Therefore, it would not be possible to use the same rules for both chains in Electrum, without significantly lowering the security of validation of legit Bitcoin transactions.

Thus, in order to safely support both Bitcoin and BCC in the same Electrum client, one would need to implement two separate sets of headers validation rules. This is clearly out of the scope of multiple chain validation. Again, the purpose of MCV is to protect users from blockchain forks that are not detectable by the classical SPV model, such as a block size increase.

How to redeem my BCC?

BCC wallets will require you to import your seed or your private keys, which can be exported from Electrum. Doing so will expose all your Bitcoin funds associated with that seed to the BCC wallet you decide to use.

Therefore, after the BCC fork, but before you enter a seed or private key in a BCC wallet, you should move all your funds to a new Electrum wallet, with a new seed. You will still be able to use the old seed or private key with BCC, because BCC has replay protection. Wait until your funds are confirmed in your new Bitcoin wallet, before you enter the old private key in a BCC wallet. This will protect your BTC funds from rogue/untrusted software.

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