Kraken position on the Bitcoin hard fork



Site Admin
Apr 2017
The popular exchange, Kraken, has not made any official public announcement on the upcoming Bitcoin hard fork, which will result in a second blockchain called Bitcoin Cash. However, Kraken has made the following unofficial statement regarding Bitcoin Cash:
However, in the case of a hard fork (HF), we will probably do what we did during the ETH hard fork on July 20, 2016: Credit our clients’ ETH and ETC and halt funding for a certain amount of hours to protect against replay attacks. So in the case of bitcoin HF that means we would list both the asset that is supported by the miners that accept BIP141 or BIP95 (or whichever proposal that triggers the hard fork) and the other asset.

We are unlikely to halt trading for a long time though since trading doesn’t happen on the blockchain – it only happens on our server and so there is no risk of losing funds.


Site Admin
Apr 2017
Update: Kraken has just released their official position on the Bitcoin hard fork and supporting Bitcoin Cash:

Bitcoin Cash and a Critical Alert for Bitcoin Margin Traders

On August 1 2017 at 12:20 pm UTC a small community of Bitcoin users is planning a hard fork from Bitcoin to an alternative protocol called “Bitcoin Cash” (BCH). Bitcoin Cash is expected to be a minority chain, with the vast majority of the Bitcoin community remaining on the chain that activates Segregated Witness and, later on, a possible increase to 2MB blocks.

Although the Bitcoin Cash fork is expected to be minor, it may be successful. Provided that unforeseen circumstances do not make it prohibitively unsafe or difficult for us to do so, Kraken will support Bitcoin Cash as follows:
  1. All Kraken clients holding Bitcoin (XBT) balances at the time of the fork will be credited with an equal amount of Bitcoin Cash (BCH)
  2. All Kraken clients borrowing Bitcoin (XBT) for margin trades at the time of the fork will be debited an equal amount of Bitcoin Cash (BCH)
  3. After the fork Kraken will enable BCH deposits and withdrawals (with replay protection enabled)
  4. After the fork Kraken will enable BCH trading in the following pairs: BCH/XBT, BCH/USD, BCH/EUR
  5. Kraken-owned will support BCH charts and trading
  6. BCH margin trading may be added at a later date if it survives and trade volume is robust
Bitcoin funding will be halted at 11 am UTC on August 1 – do not deposit during the fork
Kraken will halt XBT funding at 11 am UTC and safely secure funds during the fork. Funding will be re-enabled after the outcome of the fork is clear and the network is safe.

Trading will continue across the fork
XBT trading is expected to continue as normal across the fork, however there may be a brief interruption for the listing of new pairs and adjustment of balances.

Long XBT margin positions held across the fork will result in a BCH credit
If you hold a 10 XBT long position across the fork, it will carry over and can be closed at any time in the usual way. However, you will also receive a 10 BCH credit to your balance corresponding to the margin position.
  • example 1: margin buy (long) 10 XBT/USD = +10 BCH (long xbt, short usd)
  • example 2: margin sell (short) 10 ETH/XBT = +10 BCH (short eth, long xbt)
Short XBT margin positions held across the fork will result in a BCH debit
If you hold a 10 XBT short position across the fork, it will carry over and can be closed at any time in the usual way. However, please note that you will also be responsible for a 10 BCH debit (negative balance) on your account that must be corrected by either buying or depositing 10 BCH. Why the negative balance? Kraken sources the XBT to finance margin trading from individual lenders and we are preserving the value for these lenders that may lie in the BCH forked from their funds. This means that traders who borrow XBT across the fork to short must also pay back the BCH that forks from this XBT. Any account with a negative BCH balance will be placed on withdrawal lock until the balance is corrected.

example 1: margin sell (short) 10 XBT/USD = -10 BCH (short xbt, long usd)
example 2: margin buy (long) 10 ETH/XBT = -10 BCH (long eth, short xbt)

Margin traders should be very cautious across the fork
Margin traders are advised to be very cautious across the fork, by either reducing their position sizes or closing out entirely before the fork. In addition to the special provisions described above, margin traders should plan for the possibility of extreme volatility and unfavorable forced liquidations surrounding the fork. As always, margin traders are strongly encouraged to set stops rather than rely on perfect accessibility to the exchange.

A word of caution for everyone
Kraken makes no promises/guarantees/warranties on the outcome of the fork. We will make our best effort to handle things in a way that benefits the most clients, but clients should manage their own wallets/coins if they want perfect control. Kraken will not be held responsible for any circumstances that result in the loss of BCH.

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