The bitcoin hard fork went off without a hitch, creating bitcoin's new alter ego, bitcoin cash. Immediately following yesterday's fork, individuals who protected their private keys gained access to bitcoin cash. However, those who stored their coins on an exchange, left that decision to the exchange. This caused tensions to flare between Coinbase and their customers. They are now angrily requesting their share of bitcoin cash from the company.
Prior to yesterday's chain split, several exchanges publicly stated they would not be providing support for bitcoin cash. Coinbase was one of these exchanges. They provided a FAQ answer page before the split got under way. In regards to bitcoin cash, they said:
Coinbase will not support the BCC blockchain or digital currency. Any bitcoin within customers' accounts will remain accessible on the main blockchain only. If you wish to have access to both BTC and BCC, please be sure to send your BTC off the platform by July 31.
After the split occurred, everyone who had moved their funds off of Coinbase and maintained their private keys, got awarded with an amount of bitcoin cash equivalent to their bitcoin legacy holdings.
Coinbase Customers Believe They are Entitled to Bitcoin Cash
Even though Coinbase said they will not support bitcoin cash, their customers still believe they are entitled to it. They have been posting angry and accusatory messages on Coinbase forums.
One legal scholar, Tim Wu, pointed out that Coinbase could be in serious legal trouble if they do not hand over the bitcoin cash. He tweeted, "In my opinion, @coinbase is courting serious, maybe ruinous legal trouble if it doesn't give its users the full value of the Bitcoin fork." He also analogized the situation to a brokerage firm not giving stock splits to their customers.