Coinbase changes course after customer revolt, pledges bitcoin cash support by Jan. 1, 2018

Cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase will support the newly forked bitcoin cash currency after all, though customers will have to wait until 2018, and support will apply only to withdrawals.

After the fork took place on Aug. 1, creating separate bitcoin and bitcoin cash currencies, Coinbase Chief Executive Brian Armstrong explained that his company was in no rush to begin trading bitcoin cash, and will wait to see if the currency catches on. That policy meant that customers had bitcoin cash locked away in Coinbase accounts, unable with withdraw.

That will change by Jan. 1, 2018, Coinbase Director of Communications David Farmer revealed this week. In the interim, they said, both bitcoin and bitcoin cash will remain safely stored on Coinbase.

All bitcoin investors were granted an equal quantity of bitcoin cash after the fork. But Coinbase investors were unable to take out their newfound bitcoin cash, because of the exchange’s lack of support.

That led to loud criticism, and threats of lawsuits from Coinbase customers. The response prompted Coinbase to respond quickly, attempting to assure users their funds will be accessible.

“Over the last several days, we’ve examined all of the relevant issues and have decided to work on adding support for bitcoin cash for Coinbase customers,” Farmer said, adding that customers will be able to withdraw bitcoin cash once support is implemented. Still undecided, however, is support for actually trading the forked currency.

It was a rollercoaster first week of trading for bitcoin cash, with values surging as high as $727 on Wednesday. By Friday, it was down significantly, to about $270.

The “user-activated hard fork” was implemented due to a split in the bitcoin community. Advocates say the forked bitcoin Blockchain ledger will grow and scale better than the original thanks to upgraded consensus rules.