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Author Topic: Hardware wallets - how do you get forked BTC without knowing your private keys?  (Read 92 times)
NWJBL
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December 13, 2017, 11:47:15 AM
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I had some BTC in a software wallet this year and so when the cash, and then gold, forks took place I was able to just get my private keys from the wallet and thereby access my cash and gold bitcoins.

However, if my BTC were instead in a hardware wallet at the time of the fork, would I have had no way of ever claiming the new forked coins? Because, as I understand it, there is no way to retrieve one's private keys from such devices?

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December 13, 2017, 03:32:40 PM
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I had some BTC in a software wallet this year and so when the cash, and then gold, forks took place I was able to just get my private keys from the wallet and thereby access my cash and gold bitcoins.

However, if my BTC were instead in a hardware wallet at the time of the fork, would I have had no way of ever claiming the new forked coins? Because, as I understand it, there is no way to retrieve one's private keys from such devices?


If you use Ledger or Trezor, they will sooner or later implement support for that specific forked coin, so no problem claiming. However don't expect them to support upcoming shit forks, like Bitcoin Diamond, Bitcoin xxxxx whatever.
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December 13, 2017, 06:44:15 PM
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It's a bit of a misconception that you "receive" the new coins when a fork occurs.

A fork of Bitcoin is a split in software - generally the Bitcoin Core client - which alters the consensus rules (these are rules which nodes have to abide by to be compatible with each other, such as the block size).

When the new software is created, it will involve using a new blockchain which shares the original blockchain's history until the time of the fork and then has its own blockchain from there on.

Because it shares the blockchain's history until the time of the fork, any coins which you owned on the Bitcoin blockchain, you also own on the new blockchain.
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December 13, 2017, 07:43:22 PM
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I had some BTC in a software wallet this year and so when the cash, and then gold, forks took place I was able to just get my private keys from the wallet and thereby access my cash and gold bitcoins.

However, if my BTC were instead in a hardware wallet at the time of the fork, would I have had no way of ever claiming the new forked coins? Because, as I understand it, there is no way to retrieve one's private keys from such devices?

Depends on what hardware wallets you were using. Telling us that info would be helpful. If said wallet doesn't allow you to view your private keys then you will probably have to wait for an update from the device manufacturer but I think Ledger has already done this for bitcoin gold at least if you're using one of their physical wallets.
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December 14, 2017, 02:24:32 AM
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However, if my BTC were instead in a hardware wallet at the time of the fork, would I have had no way of ever claiming the new forked coins? Because, as I understand it, there is no way to retrieve one's private keys from such devices?
Not exactly true... the keys are never given up by the device... but you have your (24 word) seed mnemonic... which can be converted to addresses/private keys if you know what you're doing and willing to accept the risk of entering your seed into a computer...

DO NOT do the following unless you fully understand and accept the risks of doing so


- Create offline copy of https://iancoleman.io/bip39/ (disconnect from network or even better use live usb/cd with no networking to lessen risk of seed/private key leakage)
- Open up the Mnemonic Code converter in webbroswer
- Enter your 24 word seed
- Click BIP44
- Read addresses/private keys at the bottom page
- Change "External/Internal" from 0 to 1
- read CHANGE addresses/private keys at the bottom of page

Yay... compromising your hardware wallet seed for the sake of a few shitcoins! #freeMoney Roll Eyes

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December 15, 2017, 12:32:55 PM
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However, if my BTC were instead in a hardware wallet at the time of the fork, would I have had no way of ever claiming the new forked coins? Because, as I understand it, there is no way to retrieve one's private keys from such devices?
Not exactly true... the keys are never given up by the device... but you have your (24 word) seed mnemonic... which can be converted to addresses/private keys if you know what you're doing and willing to accept the risk of entering your seed into a computer...

DO NOT do the following unless you fully understand and accept the risks of doing so


- Create offline copy of https://iancoleman.io/bip39/ (disconnect from network or even better use live usb/cd with no networking to lessen risk of seed/private key leakage)
- Open up the Mnemonic Code converter in webbroswer
- Enter your 24 word seed
- Click BIP44
- Read addresses/private keys at the bottom page
- Change "External/Internal" from 0 to 1
- read CHANGE addresses/private keys at the bottom of page

Yay... compromising your hardware wallet seed for the sake of a few shitcoins! #freeMoney Roll Eyes


OK, interesting - so the 24-word seed isn't propriety to Ledger somehow, and we can use it to derive the Pkeys. Good to know. If I did that on a permanently-offline computer, should be fine, right?

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December 16, 2017, 11:35:54 AM
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OK, interesting - so the 24-word seed isn't propriety to Ledger somehow, and we can use it to derive the Pkeys. Good to know. If I did that on a permanently-offline computer, should be fine, right?

A mnemonic code is part of the Bitcoin Improvement Proposals (BIP 39: https://github.com/bitcoin/bips/blob/master/bip-0039.mediawiki). Its not associated to ledger in any way.
Yes, if you do this on an 'permanently-offline' computer and noone will have access to this computer, it should be fine.
I would still recommend to move your BTC's out into a new wallet before claiming all the shitcoins altcoins.
Regard your seed as compromised from this moment on.

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