Yes it's a little more complicated than that but the analogy still stands.
Coinbase is a hosted wallet with no key control meaning that you do not have any control over the transactions of that wallet.
The other aspect of Coinbase is a nice interface for the GDAX exchange with about double the fees.
In either case if you care about the security of your investment create an wallet transfer the bitcoin into it and keep it offline.
For the fork you would like to use a node that is compatible with the proposal you support, if you have no opinions I suggest just accept the current leading consensus and be done with it.
p.s. I studied computer science, am reasonably fluent in computer security, but not a crypto or bitcoin expert.
Some self-education links at the bottom as well.
The super paranoid roll dice to generate the private key, use a totally offline computer to convert those dice rolls into an address.
Dear Coinbase Customer,
The User Activated Hard Fork (UAHF) is a proposal to increase the Bitcoin block size scheduled to activate on August 1. The UAHF is incompatible with the current Bitcoin ruleset and will create a separate blockchain. Should UAHF activate on August 1, Coinbase will not support the new blockchain or its associated coin.
The User Activated Soft Fork (UASF) is a proposal to adopt Segregated Witness on the Bitcoin blockchain and could result in network instability. It is scheduled to activate at the same time as the UAHF.
To ensure the safety of customers’ funds, we will temporarily suspend bitcoin deposits, withdrawals, and buy/sell starting approximately 4 hours before activation of either fork.
If you currently have bitcoin in your Coinbase account, and do not wish to have access to UAHF coins or have immediate access to your bitcoin, you are not required to take any action.
If you wish to have access to UAHF coins or you wish to have immediate access to your bitcoin, you should send your bitcoin from Coinbase to your external address by July 31.
For more information on how to send bitcoin from your Coinbase account, please refer to this article: https://support.coinbase.com/customer/portal/articles/971437.
This is very worrying. If a split happens each bitcoin will exist on two forked chains, that is it will become two coins - both will have some value (even if minimal). And now Coinbase announces that it will let users withdraw only one of them. What will they do with the other? Sell it somewhere?
Maybe the email is fake?
Update: Looks like on their blog they changed the message:
Customers who wish to access both blockchains at the time of the hard fork should withdraw their BTC from Coinbase since we cannot guarantee what will happen during the hard fork or when this access may be available.
that sounds a lot saner.
Both this email and the blog post make it sound as if Coinbase support the Core side, i.e. the UASF.
Can someone explain what I'm missing?
"What happens to your bitcoins in case of a chain-split?"
Monitor the exchanges for a couple of days (you'll now be holding the coin on both sides of the fork), and when you feel the time is right to commit to one or either side, import your keys from the paper wallet to a wallet that supports the side of the fork you like the look of the most.
Basic advice is to hold, but hold safely - in a place that you have full control of your assets.
Your private key can be imported from the paper wallet to a wallet for both branches of the fork, meaning you'll have two wallets with the same amount of coin on each of the two blockchains - these can be sent independently of each other to wherever you like (as each branch of the fork will ignore the transactions of the other - in theory).
The only reason to commit to one of the two would be the perceived value of one over the other, and whether you want 'double' your eggs in one basket (perceived financial value ratio of one to the other notwidthstanding).
Again, the value of both will more than likely take a hit during (and for a while after) the fork, so please don't harbour illusions about doubling your investment overnight!
There will be plenty here on HN who know more about this however, so any corrections to the above are welcome.
At this time Blockchain.info has no official stance on this debate. We are actively monitoring bitcoin network conditions and will work to minimize any potential impact to our users. In general, we follow the longest chain, as outlined in the white paper (https://bitcoin.org/bitcoin.pdf).
With that said you always have 100% control over your funds and private keys. Your wallet recovery phrase is compatible with any other BIP39/BIP44 wallet. So in essence no matter what happens you have control of these funds and can import them into any other wallet that our mnemonic/seed is compatible with.
It looks like if there is a hardfork then Coinbase will just keep your coins on the chain that they don't want to continue supporting. I would move coins to a wallet that you control (preferably something or somewhere not network accessible) beforehand so that you keep your coins on both chains.
As a side note, does anyone have a suggested wallet for storing ether?
Personally, I went with a multitude of paper wallets.
And, as always, buy the dip.
If one puts one's btc onto a hardware wallet, e.g. HW.1, then the coins have been moved from the wallet on the computer or are they a copy of that which is on the computer?