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Author Topic: Dead Man's Switch?  (Read 3497 times)
Piper67
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September 18, 2012, 01:54:03 PM
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I was wondering if any of the ewallet providers have some form of dead man's switch. Let's say Bob has 200 BTC in an ewallet, and another 5000 offline somewhere. Could Bob set up a system so that, if he dropped dead, his wife or kids would get an email with detailed and fool-proof instructions as to how to retrieve both amounts?

I'm thinking it would be a fairly simple thing to set up, and it would definitely add value to an ewallet service. All other things being equal, I'd choose one provider over another based on that service.

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CryptoFreak33
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September 18, 2012, 01:56:00 PM
 #2

It sounds like a good idea. But that could be used as an avenue for attack and compromise. Why couldn't Bob just leave instructions with his lawyer, in a safe deposit box, or elsewhere for his family?
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September 18, 2012, 01:58:06 PM
 #3

I was wondering if any of the ewallet providers have some form of dead man's switch. Let's say Bob has 200 BTC in an ewallet, and another 5000 offline somewhere. Could Bob set up a system so that, if he dropped dead, his wife or kids would get an email with detailed and fool-proof instructions as to how to retrieve both amounts?

I'm thinking it would be a fairly simple thing to set up, and it would definitely add value to an ewallet service. All other things being equal, I'd choose one provider over another based on that service.

Cheers,

In theory it should be easy, the hard part is knowing that the person is really dead and handling those documents. Also they need protection from social engineering but easy enough for a non-technical S/O to get access.

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September 18, 2012, 03:24:36 PM
 #4

Write private key in the last will (testament) maybe?
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September 18, 2012, 03:37:23 PM
 #5

Has to be on paper.
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September 18, 2012, 04:11:17 PM
 #6

Let it be some password only his wife knows. Maybe a 2-part one combined with some passwords only his wife and daugther know or something like that.
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September 18, 2012, 04:42:09 PM
 #7

http://www.afteridie.org/

If you don't visit the site or confirm you are still alive, after 3 months (configurable) the system will send out an email.

Set this up to email to your wife or lawyer with the private keys. 

BUT, the website owner can probably view the info in the emails, so I would encrypt it at the minimum.


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September 18, 2012, 04:45:47 PM
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Has any one tried to set up a trust with their bitcoins?

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September 18, 2012, 05:41:23 PM
 #9

Yeah, I don't see why you'd want to tie your online wallet with your offline wallet. Instructions for both need to be left somewhere only accessible by the family after he dies, either with the will or with a lawyer or something like that. It's going to be hard for a wallet service to verify that somebody is actually dead, and this kind of thing is better dealt with locally with people whom you trust.
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September 18, 2012, 06:39:47 PM
 #10

Just print up a paper wallet, and store it in safe place, and put that in the will.

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paulie_w
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September 18, 2012, 06:41:08 PM
 #11

it seems to me that a brain wallet is probably the best bet for something like this.

a brain wallet passphrase written down, that is. wrap a little riddle around it and somebody will figure it out !
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September 18, 2012, 06:54:20 PM
 #12

I would suggest use all of the above.  Set up an m-of-n key with Vitalik Buterin's python utility or my Casascius Bitcoin Address Utility.  You decide how many pieces there will be, and how many are needed.

example:
1 piece with your spouse or family member
1 piece with another family member
1 piece with someone with a financial interest in you
1 piece in a safety deposit box
1 piece in a place you know they'll look if you die intact (like your wallet)
1 piece with an attorney
n piece(s) on a "if I die" website just in case 3 months go by and you think they might be n piece(s) short, such as them dying with you, not knowing where to look, fighting over who gets the coins and not cooperating, or you dying with an unexpected number of pieces (like your house burns down and there goes you, your wallet, your spouse's copy, and the list of who has other pieces).

Do 2 pieces instead of 1 piece for places/people you trust the most.

Don't forget to include a copy of the software needed to reconstruct all the pieces with each piece.  It should be a USB stick or a CD that someone can just pop in to a common (e.g. Windows) machine, double click whatever is on it, and enter the pieces.

Rather than reconstruct a Bitcoin private key, it would be more practical for most non-computer people if successful reconstruction gave them a password, and that password were used to open password-protected documents (PDF, DOC, etc.) which in turn would contain instructions, passwords, and/or private keys.  Then as time goes on and your coins move and your desires evolve, you don't have to keep giving new pieces to everybody (unless you're giving them updated encrypted documents).


Companies claiming they got hacked and lost your coins sounds like fraud so perfect it could be called fashionable.  I never believe them.  If I ever experience the misfortune of a real intrusion, I declare I have been honest about the way I have managed the keys in Casascius Coins.  I maintain no ability to recover or reproduce the keys, not even under limitless duress or total intrusion.  Remember that trusting strangers with your coins without any recourse is, as a matter of principle, not a best practice.  Don't keep coins online. Use paper or hardware wallets instead.
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September 18, 2012, 06:59:23 PM
 #13

I personally have multiple HDD (no flash-drive or cd) stored in a safe deposit box in my bank with a detailed folder structure and textfiles for all accounts/wallets i hold.
In case something happens to me my testament will have detailed instructions on how to use this data and where its stored.
My closest family members know that, thats it, easy as pie.


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September 18, 2012, 07:03:11 PM
 #14

I personally have multiple HDD (no flash-drive or cd) stored in a safe deposit box in my bank with a detailed folder structure and textfiles for all accounts/wallets i hold.
In case something happens to me my testament will have detailed instructions on how to use this data and where its stored.
My closest family members know that, thats it, easy as pie.



My family members might not know what to do with a hard drive (unless it has a USB interface), and would have a much easier time with a flash drive or a CD.  That might be true for most others as well.

Companies claiming they got hacked and lost your coins sounds like fraud so perfect it could be called fashionable.  I never believe them.  If I ever experience the misfortune of a real intrusion, I declare I have been honest about the way I have managed the keys in Casascius Coins.  I maintain no ability to recover or reproduce the keys, not even under limitless duress or total intrusion.  Remember that trusting strangers with your coins without any recourse is, as a matter of principle, not a best practice.  Don't keep coins online. Use paper or hardware wallets instead.
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September 18, 2012, 07:08:03 PM
 #15

My family members might not know what to do with a hard drive (unless it has a USB interface), and would have a much easier time with a flash drive or a CD.  That might be true for most others as well.


This might be true but, 2 years ago i had important data on a flash drive stored in my bank, after 1 year it was blank.
Thats why HDD is important, its physically written on the disc, very important.

I have prepared in the same box a HDD docking station (HDD dock SATA) for USB, all they need is to dock the HDD and it will appear as drive on any pc (FAT format, not NTFS).

As sayd, there is a text document with detailed instructions. In the worst case they would need to ask somebody familiar with IT stuff but even this shouldnt be a problem.

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kokojie
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September 18, 2012, 07:13:16 PM
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My family members might not know what to do with a hard drive (unless it has a USB interface), and would have a much easier time with a flash drive or a CD.  That might be true for most others as well.


This might be true but, 2 years ago i had important data on a flash drive stored in my bank, after 1 year it was blank.
Thats why HDD is important, its physically written on the disc, very important.

I have prepared in the same box a HDD docking station (HDD dock SATA) for USB, all they need is to dock the HDD and it will appear as drive on any pc (FAT format, not NTFS).

As sayd, there is a text document with detailed instructions. In the worst case they would need to ask somebody familiar with IT stuff but even this shouldnt be a problem.

I thought only CD/DVD is physically written, HDD stores information by magnetizing certain areas of the disk, which is actually quite similar to the flash drive.

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sippsnapp
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September 18, 2012, 07:20:16 PM
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I thought only CD/DVD is physically written, HDD stores information by magnetizing certain areas of the disk.

Yeah, thats correct, as i checked now.
HDD are recommended to be replaced every 3.5 years, DVD every 5 years to be correct.
For DVD and CD i had read somewhere that they are more susceptible to be wiped.

However, as the data gets updated steadily it should not be a problem, i never experienced a HDD that wasnt accessable after 2 years or so. Never had a HDD unused for a longer timeframe.

Bottom line for me, dont use FLASH to store data longterm.

So, of course, as i used multiple HDD you can also use DVD and HDD to be safe.....

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tpantlik
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September 18, 2012, 07:35:41 PM
 #18

Just split private key(s) with http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shamir's_Secret_Sharing and give them to trusted peoples. Than write instructions to the last will.

Gods sent us a powerful tool - cryptography - to fight with those who are trying to exploit us. USE IT!!
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September 18, 2012, 07:55:35 PM
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I thought only CD/DVD is physically written, HDD stores information by magnetizing certain areas of the disk.

Yeah, thats correct, as i checked now.
HDD are recommended to be replaced every 3.5 years, DVD every 5 years to be correct.
For DVD and CD i had read somewhere that they are more susceptible to be wiped.

However, as the data gets updated steadily it should not be a problem, i never experienced a HDD that wasnt accessable after 2 years or so. Never had a HDD unused for a longer timeframe.

Bottom line for me, dont use FLASH to store data longterm.

So, of course, as i used multiple HDD you can also use DVD and HDD to be safe.....

I usually just encrypt the file that needs to be backed up and put it in my dropbox folder, then it's synced to all my devices, plus a copy is stored in dropbox's server online, and they probably back their shit up too, so it's pretty much 100% worryfree.

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September 19, 2012, 10:51:49 AM
 #20

I was wondering if any of the ewallet providers have some form of dead man's switch. Let's say Bob has 200 BTC in an ewallet, and another 5000 offline somewhere. Could Bob set up a system so that, if he dropped dead, his wife or kids would get an email with detailed and fool-proof instructions as to how to retrieve both amounts?

The better question is, why do you not trust your wife enough to tell her NOW: honey, on this here piece of paper there is stored 5,000 bitcoins.

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