IG policy on blockchain forks
We base the price of our cryptocurrency products on the underlying market, made available to us by the exchanges and market-makers with which we trade.
There is currently one accepted decentralised ledger which records all bitcoin transactions – as well as an equivalent for ripple – called the blockchain. When the software of different miners becomes misaligned, a split – or 'fork' – in the blockchain may occur. This results in the existence of two different blockchains.
Generally, cryptocurrency users quickly agree which version to continue to use, causing minimal disruption. The old version of the blockchain is then discontinued.
In the event that one version isn't discontinued – known as a hard fork – we will generally follow the blockchain that has the majority consensus of cryptocurrency users, and will therefore use this as the basis for our prices. We reserve the right to determine which blockchain and cryptocurrency unit have the majority consensus behind them.
If the hard fork results in a viable second cryptocurrency, we may create an equivalent position on client accounts to reflect this. However this action is at our absolute discretion, and we will have no obligation to do so. If, and when, the second cryptocurrency is tradeable on a major exchange, we will endeavour to represent that value. We’ll do this either by making the product available to close based on the valuation on that venue, or by booking a cash adjustment on client accounts. If, within a reasonable timeframe, the second currency does not become tradeable on major exchanges or is otherwise deemed not to be viable as a currency (for example, it is not mined), we may delete any positions that had previously been created at no value on client accounts. We will take steps to notify you when we have taken this action.
When a hard fork occurs, there may be substantial price volatility around the event, and we may suspend trading throughout if we do not have reliable prices from the underlying market.
We will endeavour to notify you of potential blockchain forks, however it is your responsibility to make yourself aware of the forks that could occur.