Control any Bitcoin Cash (BCH) wallet with Electron Cash

2018-12-03T00:43:58.000Z Honest Cash

Please note: this article refers only to Bitcoin Cash (BCH), and not Bitcoin (BTC) or any other derivative of the original Bitcoin.

Contents

It is easy when using Bitcoin to end up with a lot of wallets — phone, pc, hardware, and more. They usually work fine and you do not need anything else to use your Bitcoin. However sometimes you want access without going through the original wallet. For example your phone breaks, your favorite wallet or service stops being maintained, you want to generate reports for all of your wallets, etc.

If you want a backup or centralized way to control your Bitcoin, this series is for you.

If you are like me and want the advanced features of Electron Cash, you also might find something useful here.

Wait — I can control a Bitcoin wallet from two different places at the same time?

Yes. This is confusing when you are accustomed to l̶e̶g̶a̶c̶y̶ traditional systems like banks and PayPal where you must request them to move money for you. With Bitcoin, as long as you keep your Bitcoin private key or seed phrase secret, you and only you control it.

When you use a phone wallet, you are trusting your phone and the app to keep the private key or seed phrase safe. However you can also use the private key or seed phrase to move your Bitcoin independently of the original wallet.

Note: as long as the original wallet works, it is better to spend and receive Bitcoin with it instead of Electron Cash. Electron Cash might use the coins in a different way and confuse your original wallet.

WARNING: Private keys and seed phrases provide full control of your Bitcoin

In this series, we will be working with “private keys” and/or “seed phrases”. When anyone has the private key or seed phrase for a wallet, they have full control of all the money in it.

It is easy to accidentally reveal private keys and seed phrases. If you are not comfortable working with them, please stop here and get comfortable. (If someone has a good resource for this, please let me know. I learned through trial and a few painful errors.)

Alternatively, you can use the private keys and seed phrases presented in this series which have been public for a long time.

Set up Electron Cash

Please download and install according to the instructions on the official site: https://electroncash.org/

Warning: people have made scam sites for Electron Cash in the past. Please be very careful to get it from the official site. Do your own research if you are not sure.

Notes for Linux Users

I only use Electron Cash on Linux, so I am not aware of issues on Windows and MacOS. If you are on Linux, some of these steps might help.

Note: if you need to run Electrum also (for BTC), I recommend not installing and instead just running from the extracted tarball to avoid conflicts.

On debian-based Linux at the time of this article (Electron Cash 3.3.2 or 3.4.2), I can use all features with these dependencies:

sudo apt-get install \

libudev-dev \\

libusb-1.0-0-dev \\

python3-pip \\

pyqt5-dev-tools

For Python, these dependencies work for me. Depending on your setup, you may need sudo for this command:

pip3 install \
    btchip-python \
    Cython>=0.27 \
    keepkey \
    trezor \
    pyqt5 \
    pyaes>=0.1a1 \
    ecdsa>=0.9 \
    requests \
    qrcode \
    protobuf \
    dnspython \
    jsonrpclib-pelix \
    PySocks>=1.6.6

Next → Case 1: Use a seed phrase from a phone or other modern wallet

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