Last few years saw quite a dramatic number of Bitcoin forks including Bitcoin Cash, Bitcoin Gold and Bitcoin Diamond. And they were great too because the HODLers of BTC got free airdropped forked coins as extra money.
In my previous posts on forks, I mentioned how all these forked coins have their own unique agenda to propose for Bitcoin and failure in execution resulted in the coins being forked out as free airdropped coins.
This year too, I am tracking more than 10 Bitcoin forks that will be airdropped to BTC holders. Needless to say, like always you need not worry because CoinSutra, with all due diligence, will help you claim your forked coins that are legit.
With the increase in the number of forks being done, their way of distribution is evolving too. In 2018, a majority of the forked coins will airdrop which will require you to sign a message using your private keys to prove that you actually are the owner of the Bitcoins that you are claiming.
And that is the very reason for this write today – to tell you how to securely sign messages using your private keys via a Ledger Nano S.
Note: One can sign messages using other wallets too but for this tutorial, I will stick to Ledger Nano S considering other wallets are beyond the scope of this article.
- Ledger Nano S Review: Things To Know Before Ordering The Ledger Wallet
- Which Cryptocurrencies Are Supported By The Ledger Wallet?
How To Sign A Message With Your Bitcoin Address & Why
Signing a message with your Bitcoin address by using your private keys is called a Bitcoin signature. By signing a message in this manner, you can prove that you control a particular Bitcoin address and hence assert the ownership of funds.
You can use this feature to sign a unique message and time-stamp it using your private keys. You can then provide this signed message to any third party user that can verify your ownership of funds.
Some of you are probably thinking as to why not just use your public address to show to the third party that you have the funds.
Think for a moment. The public address is open for anyone to check while private keys are what determine whether or not you actually control your bitcoins.
Logically speaking, proving the ownership of private keys is actually proving that you own those bitcoins. But you can’t and should never give out your private keys, so you sign a unique message using your private key to generate a signed message which can be verified with the public key.
This way, you don’t have to worry about handing over your private keys to anyone and you can prove that you are the owner of the said public key (Bitcoin Address).
In short, by providing the signed message and the public key, you are able to prove the ownership of private keys of that particular Bitcoin address. How this happens is a complicated mathematical puzzle which I will leave for another day.
How To Sign A Message With Ledger Nano S Wallet
1. Launch the Ledger Wallet Bitcoin application on your desktop.
2. Connect your Ledger device and enter your PIN code.
3. Once you have connected your Ledger device, open your Bitcoin application on the device. You will be prompted to select Bitcoin or Bitcoin cash. Select ‘Bitcoin’.
4. Once you select ‘Bitcoin’, you will see this screen.
Select ‘SEGWIT’ or ‘Legacy’, depending on the type of address where you have a non-zero BTC balance.
5. For this tutorial let’s assume that you have a non-zero BTC balance on ‘Legacy’ and you have selected Legacy to see this screen.
6. Now click on ‘Settings’ > ‘Tools’ as shown in the image above to see this:
7. Click ‘Sign message’ to see the screen below. You can choose the BTC address and type in the message in the message field and click ‘sign’. The message “CoinSutra-Simplifying Bitcoin and Cryptocurrency” is just an example. Usually, the message is given by the third party requesting you to prove your ownership.
8. Once you click ‘Sign’ you will see this:
5. Then, go to your Ledger device and confirm ‘Sign the message’ on your device.
7. After signing it on your Ledger device, you will see this screen. Copy the text between Begin Signature and End Signature. This, my friends, is your signed message.
In the above image, your signature is:
8. Copy this signature and save it in a file and provide this with your public address to any third party to prove that you really control this particular address and the bitcoins on it.
In my opinion, this is a secure way forward for Bitcoins and other cryptocurrency forks to distribute the forked coins because this doesn’t require one to import/export one’s private keys.
Also, this is a safe way to prove the ownership of your private keys without actually revealing them.
There are some other wallets too which have the Bitcoin signature features.
Some of them are Bitcoin core, Electrum, Blockchain.info, Coinomi etc.
But for this tutorial, I have explained it for Ledger Nano S only because it is my go-to wallet.
That is all from my side in this article. Feel free to leave a comment or ask the question if any.
Let us also know: Have you used the Bitcoin signing feature before? Have you claimed any forked coins so far by signing a unique message?
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Love this article? Here are a few more articles that you should read:
- The 3 Best Hardware Wallets For Bitcoin ( + Altcoins Supported)
- How To Use Neo Wallet on Ledger Nano S With GAS Claim Feature
- Bitcoin Diamond (BCD): A Full List Of Bitcoin Diamond Exchanges
- Setting Up The Ledger Nano S: A Beginner’s Guide
Harsh Agrawal is the Crypto exchange and bots expert for CoinSutra. He founded CoinSutra in 2016, and one of the industry’s most regarded professional blogger in the fin-tech space.
An award-winning blogger with a track record of 10+ years. He has a background in both finance and technology and holds professional qualifications in Information technology.
An international speaker and author who loves blockchain and crypto world.
After discovering about decentralized finance and with his background of Information technology, he made his mission to help others learn and get started with it via CoinSutra.
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