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I held a small amount of BTC back in August (had them since 2014) but now wish to sell them. Do I need to claim my BCH before selling my BTC or am I correct in thinking that the two completely independent and selling one will have zero affect on the my ability to either claim or sell the other?

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Because you owned Bitcoin (BTC) at the time of the fork, you also own Bitcoin Cash (BCH) with exactly the same addresses and private keys.

You need to:

  1. Export the private keys from your BTC wallet.
  2. Download and install a wallet that supports BCH. I recommend Coinomi via Bluestacks. It runs about 100 different alt coins side by side with your BTC and has exchange integration via Changelly and Shapeshift. (I have no affiliation with these services).
  3. Sweep the private keys exported from your BTC wallet into your BCH wallet.
  4. Consider sweeping those same BTC private keys to a new BTC address. There was some issue at the time of the fork with transaction replay (you transact on one coin and someone dupes the other to steal from you).

It's pretty easy, just keep track of what coin you're working with. A lot of people have sent their BTC to a BCH address they don't control. Then they lost their coin.

But wait, there's more

BTC was forked again in November into Bitcoin Gold (BTG). It's currently trading at $250. Do the same process with this new fork and claim even more coin.

  • Thanks for your help. When you say "export your private keys" what exactly do you mean. I have my BTC in a Coinbase account. I have a whole load of addresses generated by Coinbase but how would I go about exporting my private keys? Apologies for the daft questions! – Chris Gilbert Dec 14 '17 at 23:41
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    @ChrisGilbert On Coinbase, you cannot export the private keys. It is a hosted wallet, and giving you the keys would be a security risk. Coinbase does claim they will have BCH support in January 2018. You'll have to wait until then to get it, but you can move your BTC right now and still claim your BCH then. – 4276 Dec 14 '17 at 23:58
  • Thanks fredsbend I'll keep an eye out for them supporting it. Presumably if I sent my coins to my Coinomi wallet I could export the private keys from there? – Chris Gilbert Dec 15 '17 at 0:00
  • @ChrisGilbert Coinomi is a deterministic wallet. All keys are generated from a word seed. Coinomi doesn't have an export feature. Instead, they have a tool that allows you to generate the keys from your word seed. See this answer. Yes, you can get the private keys, but it's not an export feature in the wallet software. – 4276 Dec 15 '17 at 0:05
  • Having read those links, I'm not sure it'll help me. I transferred my BTC out to Electrum prior to the fork so whilst I am entitled to BCH and BTG, presumably Coinbase won't do it for me and I'll need to do it manually. – Chris Gilbert Dec 15 '17 at 0:05
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I you had bitcoins at the moment of the fork, you own an equal ammount of bcash. As they implanted a strong replay protection,it does not matter if you sell your bitcoins afterwards. The only thing that matters is to hold your privkeys.

The only thing you have to do to claim your coins is to install a Bcash wallet and import your privkeys there.

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Your thinking is correct in general. As a practical matter, you will need to preserve a way to access "your" BCH, i.e., the private keys of the addresses at which the to-be-sold bitcoins were sent to you. In most cases simply preserving the wallet that contained them will do; for a long time-horizon, though, I'd prefer to have a record of the actual private keys. Note that the private keys, if stolen, cannot be used to steal previously-sold bitcoins, but could be used to steal the BCH (or BTG or other forked alternate coins). Store them securely.

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