Circle Urges User Caution As Bitcoin Hard Fork Looms

Circle has suggested in an email to users that, in order to avoid the consequences of a potential hard fork, they may want to to sell their bitcoin.

Mar 21, 2017 at 11:00 p.m. UTC
Updated Sep 11, 2021 at 1:10 p.m. UTC

Payments startup Circle suggested in an email to users today that, in order to avoid the potential negative consequences of a hard fork on the network, they may want to to sell their bitcoins.

In an email late Monday, Circle – which dropped support for buying and selling bitcoin in December, but still offers wallet services – outlined its contingency plan ahead of a possible network split.

According to Circle's missive (which accompanied a lengthy update to the its user agreement), its bitcoin services could be disrupted "for an extended period of time" should a fork take place. Services interrupted would include the ability for users to convert holdings from bitcoin to another available currency on the platform.

Yet, Circle went on to advise users to move their bitcoins to other platforms – or consider selling them altogether.

The startup wrote:

"The only way to avoid the potential negative consequences of a bitcoin fork is to not hold bitcoin. Just go to Settings > Currency and convert your balance to dollars, pounds or euro (availability is based on where you live). You'll then be able to hold those funds with Circle or cash out instantly."

According to the language added to the user agreement, Circle indicated that the disruption of its bitcoin services could happen within a short span of time and "until Circle has determined in its sole discretion that such functionality can be restored".

"This bitcoin downtime will likely occur immediately upon a 'fork' of bitcoin with little to no warning, and during this period of bitcoin downtime you will not have access to bitcoin that you hold in your Circle account," the startup wrote.

The comments are the latest the find representatives from the technology's business community weighing in on bitcoin's scaling debate, a years-long dispute over the network's future that has escalated in recent days.

Miners and developers are now showing a determination to back separate roadmaps for the technology, adding to widespread perception two competing bitcoin blockchains (and bitcoin tokens) could soon become available on the market.

Disclosure: CoinDesk is a subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which has an ownership stake in Circle.

Image via Shutterstock

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