On October 24, 2017, a hard fork happened on Bitcoin’s blockchain, and as a result, Bitcoin Gold was born.
A hard fork occurs when the rules for a given cryptocurrency are changed, but a significant portion of its users don’t agree with them. In other words, some users stick to the old rules while others agree to play by the new ones. When that happens, a new coin is created from the original cryptocurrency.
In this case, Bitcoin Gold was forked from Bitcoin because several developers wanted to change rules that, in their opinion, would allow for the mining process – that is, the process of creating Bitcoins – to be more decentralized. Indeed, in the very beginning of Bitcoin, anyone could mine the cryptocurrency off their laptop, but this era is long gone, and nowadays, mining is reserved to people with deep pockets. Bitcoin Gold hopes to fix that.
Bitcoin Gold started trading at ≈$137 USD and reached a peak of ≈$456 USD, but it has been mired in controversies and security breaches since then. However, the cryptocurrency still exists and trades at ≈$40 USD as of January 3, 2022.
What does the hard fork mean to you?
Any transaction that occurred on Bitcoin’s blockchain before October 24, 2017, also exists on Bitcoin Gold’s blockchain. In other words, if you owned Bitcoins before October 24, 2017, you currently own Bitcoin Gold at a 1:1 ratio. This is true even if you spent the Bitcoins after the fork date; you only needed to have them in your possession before that. This tutorial will show you how to claim your BTG. It assumes you possess basic knowledge about cryptocurrencies since I cannot cover everything you need to know.
How you will claim your Bitcoin Gold (Overview)
You will be able to claim your BTG by exporting the private keys of your BTC wallet and importing them into the Bitcoin Gold wallet. Beforehand, you will send your Bitcoins to a new wallet to protect them from theft. You should also claim the BTG on a different device from the one you use to handle your BTC.
Once you have imported the private keys into your Bitcoin Gold wallet, you will have access to your BTG. Even if you intend to keep them, I highly recommend that you transfer your BTG to a new wallet. If you wish to trade them for a fiat currency or another cryptocurrency, you will need to send your BTG to an exchange. I suggest Bitfinex.
How to claim your Bitcoin Gold (Full steps)
Safeguard your current Bitcoins
The private keys that allow you to access your Bitcoins are the same ones that grant you ownership over your Bitcoin Gold. This is an issue because you will be required to export your private keys from your Bitcoin wallet and import them into the Bitcoin Gold wallet. Should your private keys be stolen, you will lose your BTG and BTC. To mitigate this danger, you need to transfer your Bitcoins from your current wallet to a completely new one, and never use the old wallet again. The two wallets should have different passwords.
Moreover, you should claim your BTG on a different device from the one that you use to handle your BTC. This will further safeguard your Bitcoins.
Export the private keys of your BTC wallet
The steps to export the private keys of your Bitcoin wallet vary according to the software you use. Generally speaking, your private keys are going to be either one or several alphanumeric strings (such as L5Ch4DAW8CVbi9cNRKtht8L7wxhciggqSrkfFg2anZF8qejyB7x1) or a recovery phrase composed of numerous words (such as fence pepper sister bid doctor two cave chicken list dog abandon butter).
If you use a modern wallet, it’s likely that your private keys are in the form of a recovery phrase and that you already have noted it. If that’s the case, you can jump right to the next section on how to import your private keys into your BTG wallet. Otherwise, you will need to research how to export your private keys. Here are links to tutorials for the following wallets:
- Atomic Wallet
- Bitcoin.com wallet
- Blockchain wallet
- Jaxx Liberty
- Multibit Classic
Import the private keys into your BTG wallet
Download the Bitcoin Gold wallet on their official website. For our purpose, we will not use the BTG Core Wallet, but ElectrumG instead. Once it is installed, open it. Give a name to your wallet and click on Next. The next steps will depend on whether you are importing a recovery phrase or alphanumeric keys.
Steps to import a recovery phrase
Select Standard wallet and click on Next.
Select I already have a seed and click on Next.
Enter your recovery phrase in the text box and click on Next. If the Next button is grayed out, click on Options and check the BIP39 seed box. If all goes well, you will be asked for a password to protect your BTG wallet. Do so and click on Next.
If you are less lucky, you will be asked to specify your wallet derivation. You will have three choices: legacy BIP44, p2sh-segwit BIP49 and native-segwit BIP84. If your Bitcoin addresses start with 1, click on legacy BIP44; if they start with 3, click on p2sh-segwit BIP49; and if they start with bc1, click on native-segwit BIP84. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, do nothing. Click on Next. Enter a password to protect your BTG wallet and click on Next.
At this point, you should normally see your BTG, although it might take a few minutes for them to appear. If you don’t, it might be because the wallet derivation is incorrect. Recreate your wallet with each of the three derivations until you find the right one.
Steps to import alphanumeric keys
Select Import BitcoinGold addresses or private keys and click on Next.
In the text area, copy the private keys you have extracted from your BTC wallet and click on Next. Finally, enter a password to protect your BTG wallet and click on Next. You should normally see your BTG, although it might take a few minutes for them to appear.
Transfer your BTG out of the old wallet
The final steps will depend on whether you would like to keep your BTG or to trade them for a fiat currency or another cryptocurrency. At this point, you must be able to see your BTG in ElectrumG. If this is not the case, go back in the tutorial and figure out what went wrong.
If you want to keep your BTG
Even if you don’t want to trade your BTG, you should transfer them to a new wallet to keep them safe. In ElectrumG’s menu, click on File and on New/Restore.
This will open ElectrumG’s Install Wizard. Follow the instructions to create a Standard wallet and Create a new seed. Once this is done, you will now have two wallets: the old one with your BTG, and the new one with no BTG. Transfer the BTG from the old to the new wallet. You can find the deposit address for your new BTG wallet by clicking on the Receive tab. Copy it.
In your old BTG wallet, click on the Send tab. Paste the new BTG address in the Pay to text box, click on the Max button, make sure the thumb of the Fee slider is at least midway through the track and click on the Send button. You will need to enter your wallet’s password to confirm the transaction.
If you want to trade your BTG
First, you need to find an exchange that supports Bitcoin Gold. I recommend Bitfinex. Once you have created an account on their website, you will be able to generate a BTG deposit address.
In ElectrumG, click on the Send tab, copy-paste the BTG deposit address in the Pay to text box, click on the Max button, make sure the thumb of the Fee slider is at least midway through the track and click on the Send button. You will need to enter your wallet’s password to confirm the transaction.
Once the BTG are received on Bitfinex or the exchange of your choice, you can then trade them for a fiat currency or another cryptocurrency. Note that it might take a few hours for the exchange to receive your BTG.
Can I still claim Bitcoin Gold?
Yes. Bitcoin Gold is still alive and traded on multiple exchanges. To claim Bitcoin Gold, you need to have owned Bitcoins before October 24, 2017. If you did, then you currently own Bitcoin Gold at a 1:1 ratio.
How do I claim my Bitcoin Gold?
Follow our tutorial to claim your Bitcoin Gold. If you fear making mistakes, I offer a service where I claim your BTG and other forked coins for which you are eligible to. I charge a 10% fee on the claimed coins. Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested.