Bitcoin Forks: How To Claim Them And Make A Profit
Whenever a blockchain is updated, be it Bitcoin or any altcoins, the modification itself is called a fork. Forks can be soft or hard depending on how traumatic are the changes; a soft fork is compatible with the current blockchain while a hard fork requires the previous one to be forgotten. What’s important to know is that forks generate a new version of Bitcoin (such as Bitcoin Cash) and, when this happens, you get the same amount of Bitcoin you previously owned in this new coin.
So, as of now, for every Bitcoin you have in your wallet that was received before August 2017, you may claim around $2,000 worth in coins forked off Bitcoin.
And, while most of that sum is shared between Bitcoin Cash and Gold, there is still a big profit to be made for free for every BTC you have on you since the month we already mentioned.
Remember that, when it comes to cryptocurrencies, numbers are merely an estimate. Volatility is enough so that you should take statistics with a grain of salt.
Additionally, keep in mind that you will need to give away data on your holdings in order to claim the rewards. Nevertheless, if you follow this guide, you should not worry a lot about a risk of losing all of your money.
Always remember that claiming a fork will require that you use your private keys designated to any Bitcoin wallet you own to give proof of ownership of the Bitcoin you had by the time the fork happened. Before doing this, make sure to move your Bitcoin to a separate wallet with separate private addresses, preferably a hardware wallet.
If you wish to understand better the overall claiming process, we will provide you with an example:
Super Bitcoin forked back in December 12th. If you had 10 BTC that day, you now have 10 SBTC, the same with any sum and forked coin. You’re going to need to export your Bitcoin wallet’s private keys into a wallet made for Super Bitcoin.
However, sharing your secret addresses with the new wallet means that you are giving them free access to your funds. From here, if ill intentions are present, the company can finish up your other BTC. Something similar might also happen with coins lacking replay protection.
Considering you simply can’t trust strangers, your best bet is to move all your Bitcoin to a different wallet before claiming any new coin, always making sure there is no possible harm to your original BTC. That way, you’ll leave a malicious service stealing unclaimed forks as the only remaining danger.
It’s worth noting that if you’re using a Legacy Bitcoin wallet, you might want to consider moving your BTC to a wallet with SegWit, taking advantage of the low fees available today.
The Important Factors to Profit From Forks
- Height of the Fork
This is the release time and date for the fork. Forkcoin rewards will be distributed to any Bitcoin wallet address that contained any amount by the time of the fork’s launch. Any value received after the date won’t be eligible for rewards.
- Ratio of Reward
That’s the name given to the distribution ratio for the new coin. Usually, it is a direct 1:1 ratio, meaning one forked coin for every original Bitcoin you own.
However, not every fork is released with the same distribution, leaving this as something to watch out for whenever you’re getting informed about a fork. An example of this case is Bitcoin World, which distributes 10,000 BTW per BTC.
- Availability in Exchanges
The truth is that every forkcoin will try to advertise partnerships they have with every major exchange that could offer them a market; however, minor forks won’t enjoy acceptance in many markets.
You will probably only be able to sell your new coins on exchanges that allow for them. That is, unless your BTC were stored in an exchange wallet whose portal awarded the tokens.
There are several exchanges which won’t allow you to enter forked coins made outside their service. What that means is that the only forks whose coins can be traded are those issued by them. But, if you wish a more accurate estimated price for a forked token, exchanges that accept outside deposits tend to be more precise.
Which Forks Are Coming In 2018?
With the success of Bitcoin Cash, forking Bitcoin has started to rise in popularity among the industry. A consequence is that 2018 will probably be an important year for BTC forks, with many confirmed, and some even released, to be set for launch on this year.
Some of the forks available for claims, as of last month, are:
- Super Bitcoin (12/12/2017): with a reward ratio of 1 SBTC per BTC. Can be traded in Gate.io
- Bitcoin Diamond(2/11/2017): 10 BCD per BTC reward ratio. Can be traded in Gate.io
- Bitcoin Faith (18/12/2017): can be traded in BTCtrade.im or the BitPie app.
- Bitcoin World (19/12/2017): Can be traded in BTCtrade.im and the BitPie app with a distribution of 10,000 BTW per BTC.
- Bitcoin New (19/12/2017): Available for exchange through the BitPie app.
- Bitcoin Pay (15/12/2017): With a ratio of 10 BTP per BTC, it can be traded on BitPie.
- SegWit2x (28/12/2017): Can be sold in Exrates.me.
- Bitcoin Hot (19/12/2017): is tradable through ZB.com
- Bitcoin Pizza (31/12/2017): Tradable through HB.top, albeit that exchange may be off limits for China.
- Bitcoin Vote (21/1/2018): the first annual country from the USA. Can be traded at Coinex.com
- BitcoinX (12/12//2017): Can be traded in AEX.com and counts with a distribution of 10,000 BCX per BTC.
- Fast Bitcoin (27/12/2017): Operational through CoinEgg.com and offers a distribution of 1:1 with BTC.
Steps To Claim Your Forked Bitcoins
Once you know which forked tokens you deem worthy to be claimed, refer to this section for instructions related on how to get them.
- Export The private Keys
Most claims will require your private addresses to be exported in a format that’s readable by the import tools. Each wallet has its own instructions for you to export your keys, most of them resulting in a new file being generated with your addresses and their private keys.
However, there are some wallets (mainly hardware ones) which won’t let you perform this step. In those cases, you’ll have to enter the seed phrase into a specialised tool and run it (preferably) offline. Another method you have is importing the seed into a HD wallet like Electrum, which is compatible with hardware wallets.
- Make a List by Checking The Balance of Your Addresses
Avoid wasting time importing private addresses that hold no value. There are sites, like findmycoins.ninja, which gives you the opportunity to check the balance of the claimable forked coins you have based on old Bitcoin addresses you have.
Something you could do is to record all of your valid addresses and key combinations into a text file or a spreadsheet you can refer to later. Preferably, use a file type that is easy to modify and copy. Try to organise them as private keys followed by the address.
Remember to number the entries and list them with an approximate Bitcoin amount dated to the earliest fork you can claim. That will greatly improve the efficiency of your ordering processes.
Organising them by size can also be a helpful method since it will allow you to quickly utilse an address that contains either the largest or smallest amount of funds depending on what you wish to do.
DIY Methods That You May Also Use
Most of the time, it will be possible to obtain the official wallet for every coin that has been forked from Bitcoin and sync the corresponding blockchain to import your private keys. However, this is something that takes up a lot of time and can make you exposed to malware.
However, there are ways around this if you still wish to claim the coins for yourself:
- Bither and BitPie
Those two names belong to two separate Bitcoin wallets which, when used in combination, let you claim a number of forked coins such as BTP (whose sale is impossible in any other way). However, it won work with addresses using SegWit (those that start with a number 3 instead of 1) and suffers from some rather high fees.
The pair works in the following way: Bither extracts the new coins for BitPie to sell them. The interesting part about the two wallets is that they seem to be aware of their partnership, and Bither won’t accept any address that doesn’t belong to BitPie when it’s claiming coins. If trust is an issue for you, Bither is featured in Bitcoin.org.
Bither is available for desktop and smartphones, but BitPie works best on Android. While BitPie has been released for iOS as well, people have reported difficulties related to operating with that system.
Another good option is to get your hands on the BlueStacks emulator in case you don’t have an Android or simply prefer to use your desktop computer. Do keep in mind that you’ll still need a Google account to use the Google Play Store and download the wallets to BlueStacks. The way around that is to manually search the .apk files.
Additionally, BitPie even offers an exchage for some of the most popular forked coins such as SBTC, BTW, BTP, BCD, besides the already popular Bitcoin Cash and Bitcoin Gold, giving you a comfortable way to instantly sell any coins you claim.
If you wish to claim coins using the apps, then you may follow these simple steps after downloading and setting up your wallet:
- Open your Bither wallet and enter the advanced options.
- Enter your private key in text. Bither will proceed to ask for your password depending on how you decided to import said key, from which you’ll choose “compressed”. This process shall be repeated for every private key and address with claimable balances.
- Click on “Get Fork Coins” after importing the keys.
- Choose which coin you’re going to claim.
- On the right, you’ll see the claimable balances as well as previously claimed ones. Choose the addresses you have available.
- Here, Bither will ask you for a BitPie address to send the coins.
- Open BitPie, set it up, and backup what you need to backup. You may also select the coins at the top left, from a menu.
- Hit “Receive” on the forked coin you want to claim.
- Copy the address shown under the QR code by clicking it.
- Enter that address in Bither and hit “Get”.
- Wait for a notification that will inform you about incoming funds.
- Ymgve For Claiming Forks.
Ymgve offers a great script which lets you claim up to a dozen new forked coins (in addition to Bitcoin Gold) which are B2X, BCX, BTN, BCD, BPA, BTH, BTV, SBTC, BTW, BTF, FBTC (with a claiming process that is a bit different than the rest), and UBTC (whose claiming process requires a few additional steps, explained in their site).
Not only that, but Ymgve also has support for addresses using SegWit. This, coupled with lower fees and the ability to send the coins to any address you have, makes it a perfect alternative to BitPie and Bither. You may take advantage of those features to send your new coins directly to any exchange account. The price for this being that is a little more complicated than the previous method since it uses the command line.
While it may seem like the script asks you to enter 180 random caracters, more or less, per claimed address, you may reduce the hassle by wisely copying and pasting.
The claiming process for Ymgve is as summed up:
- Enter its GitHub. Downoad and install Python 2, as specified on their site.
- Proceed to download the script as a .zip file. To make things more comfortable, you may extract the file into the same location as Python 2.
- Take a look at the list of claimable addresses we told you to make a while ago and proceed to look up each address with a Bitcoin block explorer. Find the transaction ID, or txid, for the last transaction before the date of the fork and enter each txid into the list, over each private key.
- Enter “python claimer.py XXX” above txid. In that phrase, “XXX” is substituting the ticker code of the coin you’re looking to claim.
- Make sure the list has no line breaks since they will make the information be entered over several lines and cause the script to fail.
- If you’re in Windows, don’t use the .exe file but open a command window.
- Proceed to navigte to the location of the script.
- Choose the coin you want to claim and use the “Replace All” functionality in your text editor to change “XXX” into the code for the coin, as in “BCH”.
- With the same function, enter the correct Destination Forkcoin Address where the coins will be deposited to the exchange of your preference.
- You’re going to copy “python claimer.py [coin code]”, “privkey”, “Source Bitcoin Address”, and “Destination Forkcoin Address”.
- Proceed to paste it in the command window. The script will ask you to confirm by entering a text accepting the risks of sending the coins. That text will need to be entered for every claim you make.
- Let the script do its job for a while. If it succeeds, it will do so in about a minute. However, if it gets stuck retrying connectios, feel free to cancel de script and write that down somewhere for you to try later.
- Move down your addresses and keys and save the file once you’ve reached the end. Name it as the next coin you’ll claim and replace the destination address and ticker codes.
Let it be noted that the process needs a block explorar to obtain the transaction ID for every coin but FBTC. That exception will, instead, ask you to enter the amount and claim the satoshis in the end.
Services for Claiming Forks
If you don’t feel the need or are too busy to make the claims yourself, there are many services that charge you a bit so that experts in claiming can perform the procedure for you.
The best services, according to comments, are:
- Camku, a Reddit user that seems to be able to claim and sell any coin.
- Nbysy, another Reddit user with good feedback in relation to its forked coin service.
- CoinPanic, which is an intriguing service because it claims your forked coins without asking for your private keys.
- Loyce, who offers its services in the BitcoinTalk forum to a very possitive feedback from the community.
DIY vs Claiming Services
With a view to future forks, it’s probably worth getting familiar with all three types of services! BitPie is fairly easy (although not without bugs and delays) and is currently the only way to sell the forkcoin known as Bitcoin Pay (BTP). Although the BitPie exchange usually has worse prices than regular exchanges, it doesn’t require any personal information. You should avoid storing funds long-term in the BitPie wallet, as its security properties are unknown.
Ymgve’s script is excellent. You’ll probably extract the most BTC and education by using it. As it’s usually updated whenever a valid coin is released, it’ll probably be the quickest path to claiming and selling new forkcoins. It has low fees, and supports many coins. However, it can be a little time-consuming, and is perhaps tricky for newcomers.
The various claiming services can save you a lot of hassle, and allow you to sell at various exchanges without the verification prices. However, these services take a percentage and require trust. Research each service or provider before using it! In the case of certain coins that are unsupported by the other 2 methods or are only traded on an exchange you can’t access, a suitable service will be your only path to claiming forkcoins.
Selling Your Forkcoins
Some forkcoins will likely pump in the future, but most will die. There’s no reliable way to predict either of these outcomes. All the linked exchanges were honest in terms of allowing withdrawals, although problems are likely with these frequently buggy forkcoins. Almost all (apart from HB.top) have English-language versions, with the button to select English usually lurking in the top-right corner of the site. Note that the verification process is sometimes tedious, and requires multiple photos, document scans, and hoop-jumping. If the process fails, an English explanation is usually lacking. Finally, as it’s not obvious, the instructions for accessing the exchange in the BitPie wallet are below. (Don’t use the “Buy / Sell” or “OTC Trade” buttons in the top menu.)