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A Look at the Long and Annoying Process of Claiming Bitcoin Forks
Over the past year, there has been a lot of forked coins based on the Bitcoin Core (BTC) codebase in various forms and with all types of interesting names. There are anywhere between 40-70 forked coins in the ecosystem that are worth a few bucks, while some of them are worthless and not worth the time to claim. Over the past three weeks, news.Bitcoin.com started the process of collecting as many forks as we can, just to see if the processes are easy or how hard it is to claim these tokens.
Attempting to Claim the Vast Quantity of BTC Forks
If you’ve been in the cryptocurrency space for a few years, you have definitely heard about all the forked bitcoins in existence. At the time of writing, there are roughly 40-70 coins that are snapshot-like clones with major to minor differences that reflect the BTC codebase from a certain period of time. There is bitcoin diamond (BCD), bitcoin private (BTCP), bitcoin gold (BTG), bitcoinx (BCX), bitcoin god (GOD), new bitcoin (NBTC), bitcoin cloud (BCL), bitcoin holocaust (BTHOL), bitcoin smart (BCS), and many more. Seeing how there are so many and some do have a little value, we decided to give our readers a taste of what it’s like to claim the myriad of BTC-based forks in existence.
Make Sure You Empty Your Wallet and Study the Claim Process Carefully
The first and foremost thing to do before beginning the process of claiming BTC forks is to take your BTC wallet and empty it into a completely different wallet, because you will need the empty wallet’s private keys. This means simply send your funds to a different wallet and you can now use the old seed phrase or private key to begin the collection process. You should never do this with a wallet that still contains funds. Next up is the search for coins and there are a lot of them, but we also found that a great portion of these forks are still unattainable. News.Bitcoin.com used data collected from the website Forkdrop.io, and the latest research from Bitmex that also lists a vast collection of recorded BTC forks. We then further studied the extensive amount of walkthroughs and processes found online concerning fork collection.
<figure id="attachment_184248" style="width: 2800px" class="wp-caption aligncenter">
<figcaption class="wp-caption-text">Forkdrop.io lists forks like the website Coinmarketcap.</figcaption>
Coinomi, Different Derivation Paths, and Ian Coleman’s Standalone Mnemonic Tool
One of the easiest ways to collect a good portion of BTC-based forks is the Coinomi application, which can be found on both Android and iOS mobile app stores. With Coinomi we were able to obtain four forks from the massive list of clones out there in existence with ease. This includes bitcoin gold (BTG), bitcoin private (BTCP), bitcoin atom (BCA), and bitcore (BTX). There are a few other BTC-based forks that Coinomi holds but for some reason, we were not able to obtain these coins using the platform. Further, not all BIP 39 formats are the same and we used a BRD Wallet seed which uses a different derivation path than other wallets. To get the private keys for our BRD Wallet seed and sweep them into Coinomi and other fork wallets we used Ian Coleman’s BIP 39 Mnemonic Code Creator standalone offline. Not only does the platform create seeds, it also reveals the private keys derived from mnemonic phrases in all formats like BIP 32, and BIP 44.
<figure id="attachment_184239" style="width: 2500px" class="wp-caption aligncenter">
<figcaption class="wp-caption-text">Ian Coleman’s BIP 39 Mnemonic Code Creator.</figcaption>
You can download the client and use it offline and after entering the mnemonic phrase it will show you all the private keys to all the associated addresses and the extended private key as well. After entering an existing seed to an empty wallet, the tool will provide private keys that can be copy and pasted alongside scannable QR codes so people can sweep the private keys with a mobile phone. The tool also warns that some mobile scanners may be malicious and may save the scanned images.
<figure id="attachment_184245" style="width: 579px" class="wp-caption aligncenter">
<figcaption class="wp-caption-text">The Coinomi wallet for Android or iOS gives users access to a variety of BTC-based forks. We were able to claim bitcoin gold, bitcore, bitcoin atom, bitcoin z, and bitcoin private using Coinomi.</figcaption>
Electrum Wallet Forks, Shady Websites, and Blatant Scams
<figure id="attachment_184258" style="width: 249px" class="wp-caption alignright">
<figcaption class="wp-caption-text">The Electrum fork for bitcoin diamond (BCD). We were able to claim BCD using our existing seed.</figcaption>
After using both Ian Coleman’s tool and Coinomi, we then visited a few of the forked coin websites that offer different wallets and tools so you can claim tokens from an existing seed. We visited bitcoin diamond’s website and utilized the BCD forked version of Electrum. Other websites like bitcoin hush (BTCH) used other clients like the Agama wallet.
Visitors of these sites should note, a lot of them are insecure websites with no certificates and downloading some of the wallet clients could put your operating system at risk. Some forks are easy to obtain and others are extremely difficult and are completely unobtainable.
<figure id="attachment_184264" style="width: 2800px" class="wp-caption aligncenter">
<figcaption class="wp-caption-text">Super bitcoin was born on block height 498888. We were unable to obtain super bitcoin.</figcaption>
With a Wallet That Held 1 BTC and 30 Fork Websites Visited We Collected $85
From the BRD Wallet that once had 1 BTC in it, we were able to obtain approximately nine different forks out of 30 websites visited, which is valued at around roughly $85 USD worth of tokens. About a third of the sites we visited had security warnings and wallet tools were downright scams and seemed to be blatant attempts to steal keys, so we avoided them after a certain point during the attempted claim process. Some of the coins like BTG, BCD, BTCP were collected very easily. With other forks, even after obtaining them, users will find there is no exchange in their country that offers trading pairs with these forks, and some have zero exchange support making them impossible to sell.
<figure id="attachment_184243" style="width: 2800px" class="wp-caption aligncenter">
<figcaption class="wp-caption-text">Bitcoin file (BIFI) was born on block height 501225, there are supposedly 21.21 billion coins. We were unable to obtain bitcoin file.</figcaption>
The Processes Can Put Your Privacy and Operating System at Risk, and Depending on the Number of Funds — Collecting Forks With Very Little Value May Not Be Worth the Time
Over the last three weeks collecting the $85 bucks worth of forks took well over 24 hours of time between visiting websites, and following the claim process for each coin. The energy put into claiming all of the forks is only worth it if you had a decent amount of BTC held in a wallet before the block heights of each token split. Not only is the process time consuming it also puts your privacy at risk when using an old wallet that once held BTC. This means someone could connect the dots back to your original wallet by referencing wallets that have claimed these forks.
<figure id="attachment_184252" style="width: 2800px" class="wp-caption aligncenter">
<figcaption class="wp-caption-text">Bitcoin hot (BTH) was born on block height 498848. BTH claims to have 2.1 billion coins, but we were unable to obtain BTH successfully.</figcaption>
With the amount of energy and shadiness involved with the process, it is not very likely that a lot of people have claimed these coins. This means the small number of users who have attempted and have collected these forks are far easier to trace. But if you want a few bucks and are willing to follow the processes in a secure manner it may be worth it to collect a bunch of these coins and sell them for something you truly believe in — Unless you absolutely think that the future of bitcoin hot (BTH) will revolutionize the planet.
What do you think about the fork claiming process? How many forks have you obtained over the last year? Let us know your thoughts on this subject in the comment section below.
Disclaimer: Walkthrough editorials are intended for informational purposes only. There are multiple security risks and methods that are ultimately made by the decisions of the user. There are various steps mentioned in reviews and guides and some of them are optional. Neither Bitcoin.com nor the author is responsible for any losses, mistakes, skipped steps or security measures not taken, as the ultimate decision-making process to do any of these things is solely the reader’s responsibility. For good measure always cross-reference guides with other walkthroughs found online.
Images via Shutterstock, Coinomi, Forkdrop.io, Bitcoin Hot, Super Bitcoin, Bitcoin File, Pixabay, and Ian Coleman’s BIP 39 tool.
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