How to get free BCC from BTC

Published:

At about 18:15 UTC on 1st August 2017 the new kid on the block, Bitcoin Cash, mined it's first block. The Bitcoin blockchain was split. Suitable for both novices and experts, this tutorial provides a blow-by-blow description of how to extract your Bitcoin Cash from BTC. For example purposes, we employ the Bittrex exchange, where Bitcoin Cash is referred to as "BCC". Confusingly, some media and other exchanges also refer to it as "BCH". We use BCC.

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So what does this mean for BTC owners?

Free Bitcoin Cash(BCC) from Bitcoin(BTC) -- the why

At the time, BTC was trading between $2,725-2,730. In only 18 hours, BCC rose from little to about $1,470 (53% BTC) before settling at about 25% (Figure 1).

BCC high after BTC split image
Figure 1: BCC high after BTC split

Excitingly, for Bitcoin holders, this meant that after 18:15 on 1st August they owned both BTC and BCC! The diverged BCC sits on a BTC block, part of which you own. It cannot exist without your ownership.

Do I own free BCC?

Blind trust in what has become the cryptocurrency industry opens doors for predators, lies and fraud. Do you really own free BCC?

Call me cynical, but what happens to the BTC/BCC you own that is parked in an exchange wallet for trading? Their wallet, but most certainly your tokens. Those tokens have value, right? If you didn't receive the BCC proportionally, has the exchange siphoned it off? If they have, then that's an issue for die polizei, la polizia, polite but incompetent PC Plod, or the FBI, right?

It's no coincidence that some exchanges were remarkably slow processing BTC bags that contain BCC, is it? And one major exchange was "down" from almost exactly 24 hours after the BTC split: for an astonishing 4+ hours. I made a point of checking BTC blockchain queues. They were not high. I checked latency (Internet speed). No problems there either. HTTP requests from my servers to the (large) rogue exchange were repeatedly getting all the way through. Very concerning was the fact their servers reported 500 exceptions. They're servers were borked. What a coincidence. One of several "coincidences" this year -- each of which were both in the exchange's favour and cost traders funds. Exchanges depend highly on good security practices but somehow their servers "went wrong"?

I hope you get my point. This is the Wild West of finance we're involved in. Not John Sutter's 1948 gold find Wild West, with gun slinger's and crooks that followed. Today, serious threats come not from drug dealing cartels, tattooed gangs or renegade former soliers. No. Granny could give them a loving pat on the bum as she remarked "what a nice boy" -- by comparison to the suit-and-jeans power brokers predating in unregulated space. Of course they'll grab your BCC if they can, as they took normal folk's savings in the run up to the 2008 crash. And of course, they'll do it by stealth, cowardly, at a distance.

What can we do? How about protect our golden windfall? Ensuring it's actually available to invest or spend isn't such a bad idea.

Some people posting articles and forum posts suggest it doesn't matter when you split BTC into BTC/BCC. I wonder if they're genuine, naive in the extreme, or deliberately misleading. I don't know for sure. I'm wary.

Don't invite digital thieves to grab you by the freebies!

My Bitcoin(BTC) are in a wallet on a computer or smartphone

If your BTC are with an exchange, and were held there before the split, you may care to contact their support to ask...

Alternatively, if you can say "My Bitcoin(BTC) are in a wallet on one of my computer or smartphones!", then the rest of this article should help you split out your BCC from BTC.

This article has security steps not (yet) mentioned elsewhere. What we'll do is...

Transfer BTC to a clean wallet

Okay, before 18:15 on 01 August 2017 you had BTC in a wallet on one of your own device like a PC or smartphone. If you didn't then let's get something clear at the outset:

If your BTC was with an exchange or other non-local service, please, please, PLEASE contact your provider for transfer details before attempting to move BTC from their wallet to yours. If you transfer after 18:15 (or thereabouts) on 1st August then your BTC transaction will transfer but your BCC will be left behind.[1] Some providers are belatedly transferring Bitcoin Cash, Poloniex, for example. Cynics, however, may wonder if these late announcements are based upon integrity or considerations towards grabbing BCC if traders fail to contact them.

Incidentally, at the time of writing some exchanges refer to Bitcoin Cash as BCC (like Bittrex). Others refer to it as BCH.
[1] That's our latest information.

Let's poke around some technical stuff to arrive at a basic understanding of why moving BTC to a clean wallet is a necessary first step.

In short, when you access blockchain currencies you match your wallet address to blockchain transactions matching that address. If a surplus exists in that blockchain address it belongs to the wallet. The wallet belongs to you — along with that surplus.

The wallet's address comes from a seed, prepared in terms of BIP32.[2] Before that, the seed is generated in accord with BIP39,[2] a mnemonic sentence of easy to remember words. Wallet software can contain many wallets.
[2] ...or modern variants

Here's the important bit:

If you possess a wallet seed then reproducing that seed in another wallet for the same altcoin currency will effectively copy that wallet. It will have the same access to the same blockchain assets.

You should now have an understanding of why it is important to keep your wallet seeds safe. By safe, I mean available to you -- and your loved ones should one of life's final events occur (death to dementia, accident to clinical adversity). Nobody else!

You now also have the relevant knowledge to understand the basis of contacting customer services of exchanges and other providers to claim your BCC. They have their wallet seeds. Their wallets contain your assets.

Here's a problem though. If you were to work on the original copy of your wallet to split out BCC, and BCC wallet technology being so new, will it screw up either of your BTC or BCC funds? Surely it must be too early to trust BCC wallets?

Some, perhaps many, wallets are not well designed. Their data storage code employs paths to absolute directories and files. That could result in wallet software destroying existing key data by overwriting it — thus wiping out funds. I made this mistake when first using the Ethereum Parity wallet (long ago).

For safety, I propose using a fresh BTC wallet installation on a differnet PC to transfer the BTC portion of your combined BTC/BCC. A virtual machine will do if you know how to set one up and have successfully done it before. This is not the occasion to take chances.

Electrum wallet download

We first transfer BTC into the long established and simple Electrum wallet as a new BTC store. Do your own research to satisfy yourself of it's safety. I trust it, with reservations. It's from a German company. Germany having strict laws gives some comfort. However, tone of language and criticism of competitive software products on it's website indicates some of the arrogance predominant about 75 years ago. It raises some suspicion, in me as an old cynic. Electrum will do as a reasonably safe piece of software for the task we now follow but there are good alternative wallets out there.

Download version 2.9x (Figures 2 & 3).

Electrum wallet website image
Figure 2: Electrum wallet website
Electrum wallet download image
Figure 3: Electrum wallet download

Install Electrum wallet

Open your Electrum download and install it (Figures 4 & 5). If your system has more than one drive, it's potentially more secure to install there rather than amongst your primary applications folder.

Electrum wallet install location image
Figure 4: Electrum wallet install location
Electrum wallet installing image
Figure 5: Electrum wallet installing

Create new Electrum wallet

When prompted, enter a new wallet name and set it as a standard wallet (Figures 6 & 7).

Electrum wallet name image
Figure 6: Electrum wallet name
Electrum standard wallet image
Figure 7: Electrum standard wallet

Next, create your wallet seed (Figures 8-12).

Electrum create seed image
Figure 8: Electrum create seed
Write your wallet details on a piece of paper!!!
Electrum copy created seed image
Figure 9: Electrum copy created seed
Electrum confirm created seed image
Figure 10: Electrum confirm (paste) created seed
Electrum create new password image
Figure 11: Electrum create new password
Electrum generate wallet address image
Figure 12: Electrum generate wallet address

Getting the Electrum wallet address for BTC transfer

Note a zero BTC balance in Figure 13. Click the Receive tab to see your BTC transfer address.

Using the Electrum wallet image
Figure 13: Using the Electrum wallet

Copy the Receiving address, and save it in a text file (Figure 14).

Copy the receiving address image
Figure 14: Copy the receiving address

Copy the text file onto a USB stick for transferring to a computer with the original wallet — the one with your BTC in it. It's safe to send this wallet address by email to yourself for copy-and-paste purposes.

Never send your seed or password by email!

Open your original wallet, whatever it is. I've used Electrum as the original wallet for this tutorial, transferring 0.2 BTC into it from Poloniex before the 1st August. After blockchain charges my wallet contained 0.199 BTC. Click the send tab. Enter the receive address of your new wallet into the "Pay to" input of the old wallet (Figure 15).

Send BTC from wallet image
Figure 15: Send BTC from wallet

Enter an amount to send, then a description to help recollection. Figure 16 displays what I did. Preview your transaction to check everything carefully — but read on before sending.

BTC transfer history image
Figure 16: BTC transfer history
The effect of you sending from your old to new (temporary) wallet is to separate BTC from BCC. Your old wallet will not display BCC but it's there! Don't do anything with it for now — do not close it, do not turn the machine off: leave the darn thing alone!

We shall return to the original wallet soon.

If you want your transaction to go through quickly, raise the "Fee" slider. When satisfied, click "Send".

Go get a coffee or something. Check your new wallet History tab after a while to see that your transaction has hit the blockchain. After it appears in your new wallet it takes a while for the blockchain to verify and ready to use. Check progress at Blockchain. My transaction was through within 10 minutes and only 5 verifications (which surprised me). It can take hours and more than 50 verifications for BTC cryptocurrency to arrive. Be patient.

Whilst waiting, it's time to install a wallet to hold Bitcoin Cash.

Set up a BCC wallet

Attitudes on the Electrum website suggest they're not too happy with Electron Cash developers using Electrum software as the basis for a BCC wallet. Electrum has a good reputation in the Bitcoin marketplace — and that for a considerable time. Electron Cash duplicates it, with modifications to recognise BCC.

"Permission is hereby granted, free of charge, to any person obtaining a copy of this software and associated documentation files (the "Software"), to deal in the Software without restriction, including without limitation the rights to use, copy, modify, merge, publish, distribute, sublicense, and/or sell copies of the Software, and to permit persons to whom the Software is furnished to do so, subject to the following conditions:

The above copyright notice and this permission notice shall be included in all copies or substantial portions of the Software....
"

I should declare at this point I have have no connection with Electron Cash. My first time using it was to split BCC on 02 August 2017. My concern is about security, a subject with which I've had significant experience. My view on this product arena is that altcoin owners should disbelieve, even the apparent honesty from a perfect mix of your preferred deity, 10 professors of ethics and a few judges. Reminder: this is the Wild West of the financial world. [Actually, leave judges out of that equation: they're experienced lawyers, a profession based in manipulation and deceit]

I have no difficulty with Electron Cash for the purpose of splitting BCC from BTC. You should make your own mind up, from your own research (and do it without the help of a judge)!

I used this BCC wallet software because:

Download from the Electron Cash website (Figures 17 & 18)

Electron Cash website image
Figure 17: Electron Cash website
Electron Cash download image
Figure 18: Electron Cash download

Start installing. First select "Auto connect" (Figure 19), then Next.

Electron Cash server auto connect image
Figure 19: Electron Cash server auto connect

Next, leave the default wallet name (Figure 20).

Electron Cash default wallet image
Figure 20: Electron Cash default wallet

Select "Standard wallet" (Figure 21).

Electron Cash standard wallet image
Figure 21: Electron Cash standard wallet

Very important: select "I already have a seed" (Figure 22).

Electron Cash I already have seed selection image
Figure 22: Electron Cash I already have seed selection
This next part is important!

See Figure 23. This window requires the seed from your original BTC wallet. Considerations to keep in mind here:

See Figure 23. This window requires the seed from your original BTC wallet. Considerations to keep in mind here:

Electron Cash enter seed image
Figure 23: Electron Cash enter seed

Your old BTC wallet should still be open. That's the one that had BTC but now contains only BCC, which you cannot see. Find it's seed and copy it. In Electrum the procedure looks like Figures 24 and 25.

Electrum get your seed from the old wallet image
Figure 24: [Electrum] Get your seed from the old wallet
Electrum copy seed image
Figure 25: [Electrum] Copy seed

Paste into Electron Cash "Enter Seed" pane (Figure 23, above), then click next, enter a password (Figure 26) — and you're done!

Electron Cash enter password image
Figure 26: Electron Cash enter password

Voila! Look at your BCC balance! (Figure 27).

Electron Cash BCC balance image
Figure 27: Electron Cash BCC balance

Check for BCC

Okay, you're not really finished. Your wallet displays BCC but can you use it?

Hop over to https://bittrex.com/account/Register to register an account (if you don't already have one). Log in. Now refer to Figure 28. Go to the "Account balances" page at https://bittrex.com/balance. 1 BCC being a recent currency to Bittrex exchange, I found it by clicking page 28, under Account balances. 2

Make a new Bittrex BCC wallet image
Figure 28: Make a new Bittrex BCC wallet

To add a Bittrex BCC wallet for your account, click the "+" button next to BCC.3 A deposit appears.4 Click "New address" button to produce a wallet.5 Copy your new BCC wallet address (Figure 29). Observe, for now your pending deposit balance displays 0.00BCC (Figure 30).

Copy Bittrex BCC address image
Figure 29: Copy Bittrex BCC address
Bittrex BCC pending image
Figure 30: Bittrex BCC pending

In Electron Cash wallet Send tab (Figure 31), paste your Bittrex wallet address into the "Pay to textbox. Enter an amount to send, and adjust the "Payment fee" slider. More payment provides faster transactions (usually). Check your entries to ensure everything was done correctly, and send. Copy and keep your payment send hash (Figure 32). A quick look at History confirms transactions and a balance, Figure 33 lower left, displays an "unconfirmed" leaving your wallet. All is good!

Electron Cash send BCC image
Figure 31: Electron Cash send BCC
Electron Cash BCC sent image
Figure 32: Electron Cash BCC sent
Electron Cash history image
Figure 33: Electron Cash history

Now visit "Pending deposits" and "Account balances" sections on Bittrex (Figures 34 to 36). After a short while your pending transaction will display.

Look at "Confirmations" in Figure 34. It could take a long time for BCC to clear. Click refresh to update. For me, I recall sending at 20:57 and not receiving final clearance until next day at around noon.

This raises a potentially important issue about trading BCC. Keep in mind Bittrex had BCC wallets "under maintenance" for the first two days after split.

Bittrex BCC pending funds image
Figure 34: Bittrex BCC pending funds
Bittrex BCC account balance image
Figure 35: Bittrex BCC account balance
Bittrex BCC available image
Figure 36: Bittrex BCC available

If huge numbers of BTC owners suddenly traded their BCC bounty into BTC, what would that mean? A sudden rise in BCC as first conversions began? Followed by a drastic drop as too much BCC entered the market, coupled with fears spread in digital media that BCC would fail? Would BTC skyrocket as converters scrambled from BCC to BTC? Well all that happened in the first few days, but why didn't BCC take off?

What if masses of BTC holders were led to believe they had lots of time to convert? What if they couldn't convert as the result of too little information about the conversion process?

Now you've converted, do you hold or sell?

My gut instinct is to buy more BCC whilst prices are low. My gut instinct also lead me to a view not to believe a darn BCC media story until August has drifted into September. This tutorial was produced because I suspected a significant amount of false stories: and significant numbers of unsuspecting BTC owners at risk. At least now you have your BCC to trade as you wish! Wild West ring any bells? Let's see what happens.

Back to tutorial — we need to take care of security.

Secure BTC and BCC

Few people know deep level security. For example, Petya based "wiper" malware designed to erase hard drives and memory. The catastrophic Wannacry worm was of this class.

People in the know at security meetings I attend suspect that serious viral attacks are not from mischievous script kiddies and criminal gangs. We believe they are state sponsored, covert, digital violence. These penetration exercises are no different from wolf-pack military jets at mach X speed heading for opposition state airspace boundaries before pulling up. They serve to test responses. We should expect a viral wolf-pack style attack on average every two months.

The fact is that large corporations and governments are unprepared for live digital attack events.

If a large organisation can lose 20,000 machines, wiped and useless, what chance for "normal" folk?

Here are a few simple rules to keep your systems, and cryptocurrency, reasonably out of harm's way.

Words of wisdom stated, now secure yourself from intrusion by anyone or anything that grabbed your details whilst splitting BTC.

Download and install CCleaner (Figure 37). It's free or paid. Uninstall Electron cash and the old wallet. Do not uninstall the Electron wallet on another computer or virtual machine that contains your BTC.

CCleaner image
Figure 37: CCleaner

Open CCleaner and run Cleaner->Analyze, then "Run Cleaner". When done, run Registry->Scan for issues followed by "Fix issues". Repeat registry scan until no reported issues occur. Your machine should now be cleaned of any lurking undesirable software — and your machine will probably run faster.

When done, choose a good BCC wallet and transfer your funds from exchange to wallet. It's not a good idea to keep funds at exchanges for too long.

Finally, if you do not trust Electrum wallets software, transfer your BTC to a preferred exchange. Delete the wallet only after all BTC was verified and displayed in the exchange as available for use. Then follw procedure above: delete wallet; clean machine; install new wallet; transfer BTC to new wallet.

Thanks for reading and good luck with your trading!

Did Alts Club help you? (Closing notes)

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