There’s some “free money” out there, but it’s not available to everyone. Only those who control their Bitcoin private keys will benefit from a relatively unknown giveaway benefitting Bitcoin users.
The title for this post mentions Coinbase simply as a reference to any service that has custody of its customer’s coins. These custodial services include most exchanges (e.g., BitSTAMP, Kraken, LocalBitcoins, etc.), web wallets (e.g., Coinapult), online services (e.g., ChangeTip, online gambling sites, etc.) and others.
The beneficiaries then of this giveaway are those who kept bitcoins in a wallet such as Bitcoin Core, Blockchain.info, Electrum, MultiBit, Mycelium, Armory, and others – including cold storage (e.g., paper wallet) methods even.
A little over a year ago a current top-20 altcoin, Clam (CLAM), was about to launch and wanted a wide initial distribution of the altcoin. They introduced an innnovative approach to attain this. Clam essentially did an “airdrop” that gave about $14 worth of CLAM ($14 using today’s exchange rate) to the owner of each and every Bitcoin address that held a (non-trivial) balance at that time (May 12, 2014). The same airdrop, totaling nearly 15 million CLAM, hit Litecoin and Dogecoin address owners as well to gain an even wider distribution.
The airdrop giveaway amount was 4.6 CLAM per Bitcoin address. Today these 4.6 CLAM trade for about 0.06 bitcoins – an amount worth about $14. Many Bitcoin users will be able to claim multiples of this amount if they had followed the practice of using a new Bitcoin address for each payment requested. Bitcoin clients that spend change to a new address will also result in multiple airdrop targets per-person.
Accessing this free money
The CLAMs corresponding to your Bitcoin address(es) are already sitting there on the CLAM blockchain waiting to be spent. But just like with Bitcoin, spending the funds for an address requires the private key that corresponds with that address. The procedure to claim airdropped CLAMs then requires a Bitcoin private key to be imported into the Clam client.
This need for a Bitcoin private key helps to explain why nearly 95% of the airdropped CLAMs have yet to be claimed. Sharing your Bitcoin private keys with some other software should not be something done without knowing the risks and without first taking proper preparations. The CLAM client is open source though and hasn’t been found to do anything that would spend your bitcoins or leak your keys. Either way, it is recommended to only use Bitcoin wallets that have been “retired” (i.e., bitcoins completely spent and no further payments expected).
Once the CLAM client has the private keys any airdropped CLAMs will automatically and instantly be available for spending. There are a few exchanges where your CLAMs can be converted to Bitcoin: Poloniex, Bleutrade, and Shapeshift.io.
Help is available
The process to claim CLAMs may not be worth the effort for everyone – especially if a wallet contains only one Bitcoin address that had a balance – the result of which is CLAM worth just $14. Others find the effort to be well worth their time if their Bitcoin wallet had dozens of addresses with balances. For them, claiming the airdropped CLAMs yields hundreds of dollars worth.
But installing the CLAM client, waiting for it to pull down its blockchain (which is now over 650MB), and importing Bitcoin keys isn’t a process for everyone.
That’s a shame because there’s literally millions of dollars worth of value currently being “left on the table”. It’s been over a year since the airdrop occurred and so few Bitcoin users have claimed their airdropped CLAMs. For this reason, a service is being offered to help Bitcoin users minimize the effort to collect and cash out from the CLAM airdrop.
If you had any bitcoins on May 12, 2014 and want to cash out from this airdrop then this service might be useful to you. This service will check if your private keys had earned any CLAMs. If there were any CLAMs they will be converted to bitcoin (less a 10% service fee) and those bitcoins forwarded to you. It’s that simple! For further details on this service, send an e-mail message to firstname.lastname@example.org
[Don’t send your wallet or private keys via e-mail. We’ll respond with a secure method for transfer.]
[Update: The CLAM exchange rate has dropped by well more than half since this post occurred.]