How to recover altcoins (e.g. Bitcoin Cash, Bitcoin Gold, Clam Coins) from your paper wallet
Your paper wallet may cointain value in addition to its balance of Bitcoin. In fact, old paper wallets you already "swept" may have latent altcoin balances waiting to be collected, so hopefully you didn't throw your wallets away after sweeping them!
At the time of this writing, paper wallets that were funded with Bitcoin prior to October 24, 2017 are almost certainly worth more than their simple Bitcoin balance.
Your paper wallets may have $1000's worth of alt-coins waiting to be collected.
In August 2017, the Bitcoin blockchain 'forked', at which point every address with a Bitcoin balance was automatically granted an equivalent amount of Bitcoin Cash, an alt-coin which at the time of this writing had a value of $2,250 USD per coin. In October of the same year, "Bitcoin Gold" forked, adding an additional $250 per Bitcoin. And back in 2014, "Clam Coin" assigned Clams to every Bitcoin address (4.6 Clams per address at the time of this writing.)
What this means is that if you have a paper wallet that was funded with 1 Bitcoin in 2014, in January 2018 it would be worth:
$14,000 (Bitcoin) PLUS
$2,250 (Bitcoin Cash) PLUS
$250 (Bitcoin Gold) PLUS
$50 (Clam Coin)
For a total of $16,550 -- $2,550 more than the nominal "face value" of your paper wallet!
How to claim your alt-coin balances
While there are many ways to recover these balances, the only method I will describe here is by using the 'Coinomi' app. At the time of this writing, Coinomi is only available on Android OS. However, Coinomi makes this process so easy I strongly recommend you obtain an Android device if you believe your paper wallet may hold significant alt-coin balances.
- Install and set up Coinomi on your Android device. During the initial configuration, tell it you want to set up a Bitcoin wallet.
- From the main menu, set up the following additional alt-coin wallets:
- Now you will "sweep" your paper wallet's private key FOUR separate times, once for each currency. Depending on when your wallet was funded, you may have all, some, or none of these alt-coins waiting to be harvested.
- Once your balances are showing in Coinomi, you can use the app's built-in "Shapeshift" or "Changelly" services to convert alt-coins into Bitcoin (or Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum, or whatever you are able to make use of.).
If you have questions about using Coinomi, the best place for answers is probably the Coinomi Reddit forum at:
Use Coinomi's main menu button (upper left) to set up all four of these cryptocurrencies. Then open each wallet and select 'Sweep wallet' from the upper-right menu button. You will be sweeping the same paper wallet four times!
If you manage to recover some alt-coin funds, you can use Coinomi's built-in Shapeshift or Changelly service to convert those alt-coins into coins you can use (or sell).